PROLITERACY conference logoCongratulations to Tina Vlahos from PRACE for her successful application to attend the ProLiteracy Conference in San Diego proudly sponsored by VALBEC with assistance from ProLiteracy.

Tina’s application conveyed a passion for teaching literacy and a commitment to lifelong learning that aligns with VALBEC’s vision and values.

Read about Tina here

I have always been enamoured by words and language. I started reading Greek at age four, with the encouragement of my Greek father who has always valued education above all else. When I first went to school, like many children of migrants, I could not speak a word of English. Happily, I quickly fell in love with English and it has now become the language of my thoughts.

Tina Vlahos from PRACE

Tina Vlahos, from PRACE, successful applicant for the sponsored place at the ProLiteracy Conference in San Diego.

I went on to complete a Diploma in Education in my early twenties, with the intention of travelling the world teaching English. Life didn’t quite work out that way, but I did end up teaching EAL, which in many ways bought the world to me. I learned so much about the lives, language and culture of the students in my classes.

I was then offered the opportunity to teach an evening adult literacy class. When the class first started the numbers were low, but my workplace was 100% committed to running the class and now, years later, the class has grown. It’s dynamic, full of energy and fun and an absolute pleasure to teach.

Since beginning to teach adult literacy, I have become obsessed with decoding letters and sounds, so much so that at times, I have had to stop and focus hard on a common word as my brain tries to decode it. When this first happened, I thought, ‘Aha, I am finally seeing letters and letter patterns as the symbols they are!’ I felt that I might finally somehow begin to understand a tiny little bit of how a student with a learning disability might see letters and words.

I’ve since gone on to acquire a Diploma in Art Therapy and a Certificate IV in Disability and am currently teaching the adult literacy class mentioned above, an EAL conversation class and a Community Connections and Literacy Connections class for people with disabilities. My working life is rich and full and there is nary a dull moment.

I am currently learning Irish to: 1. Help keep my mind sharp, 2. Experience a new language as a total beginner and 3. Satisfy my fascination with Irish culture.