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Local Retiree Teaches Literacy and Language at Library

Bailey Bishop works with two English language learners on a weekly basis.

Bailey Bishop helps people assimilate, and he does it at your local library.

Bishop was introduced to the by way of his friend Alan Wayte, who is another long-term tutor. For the past three years, Bishop has been working with Alma Lara, a mother and homemaker who is originally from Mexico.

"This student of mine knew very little English when I first started working with her. She told me that she feels some gratification and she’s improving and looks forward to bigger and better things as we move along," he said.

"She’s certainly committed. She’s here on time every week," he added.

A married father of three sons, Bishop worked for many years at a savings and loan. He attended school at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Washington before earning a degree in business from the University of Indiana at Bloomington. Bishop also served his country as a Navy pilot during the Korean War. He still enjoys flying in a glider, especially in the region of Pearblossom, CA.

"I do a lot of soaring in the desert," he said.

Bishop said that he mostly enjoys reading non-fiction and historical material, and said he feels privileged to contribute to the Monrovia Public Library.

"I think it’s one of the better libraries in Southern California. The literacy section is good. Good teaching materials," he said.

Bishop said that his tutoring sessions with Lara mainly revolve around discussing things that are going on in her life, such as what she ate for dinner or what she did over the weekend.

"My big goal is to converse in everyday conversation. I don’t want to ask her questions and have her say yes or no," he said. "The idea is to get her to chat with me."

Recently, he also began working on language skills with Lara’s neighbor, Nela Chaidez.

"I feel it’s a good situation to have them both here. We work better together, the give and take, with the three of us," he said.

Bishop will sometimes ask Chaidez or Lara for a word in Spanish, then give the English translation, and ask them to use the word in an English sentence. His learners have also selected children’s books in Spanish from the library, which he checks out so he can read more of their language at home.

"I want to learn Spanish, too," he said. "I’d love to go to Mexico and spend six months with a family. No English."

Bishop said that he thinks a desire to help others is one of the most important qualities that a tutor can possess. He said his learners show a great deal of dedication to their sessions.

"The weekly progress is really gratifying. It’s just a good feeling that they’re so enthusiastic and committed," he said.

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