Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:17 pm
The Marine Corps once ran an ad, describing itself as offering recruits, "the toughest job you'll ever love."
I teach remedial English at a community college. I was told by a member of this forum that my students do not belong in a college of any type. I disagree.
Because I teach English, I read a lot of autobiographical material: stories from Africans who didn't leave their houses for years because of civil war in their country; stories from American kids who lived in foster care all their lives who never knew their birth parents; stories of struggles large and small.
The semester has just begun. I sat down a few minutes ago to read the second set of paragraphs one of my classes wrote. The topic is their goals. I let them chose whether they wanted to write about short- or long-term goals.
I read a foreign student's quest to speak and write better English and to have a profession. The next papers was from a student who didn't care for 11 years, then woke up senior year, studied hard and earned good grades. The third was from someone who has no idea what life will hold as long as the path walked is not that of the absent mother, a crack addict. I had to leave the room to cry. When I came back and picked up the fourth paper, it was from a student whose family sought asylum because of the war in Iraq.
Teaching is not for the faint hearted.
A person should never be assumed to be beyond learning.
I totally agree. Whether a person is simply immature, or fighting some larger battle, like my students who have faced civil war or drug addicted parents, everyone should have access to an opportunity to retrieve or create their best selves.