Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Focus, work and irises

I have the pleasure of shepherding 38 single mothers who, for the most part, are living in or coming from dire circumstances to a diploma in medical coding and insurance. They almost all have had bad educational experiences before coming to me. Many of them don't read very well. Most of them get up at some god awful hour take their children to daycare then either come to class then go to work or go to work then come to class. Very few of them can afford child care so a family member usually provides the care. This system is usually fraught with difficulty that only a family can bring. I have had students come to take a final with a small child or 2 and have one student watch the children while the mom takes the final. The thing that amazes me is that they are thriving. I can see the change that this academic success is creating in them. I see them standing up straighter, putting up with less crap, stating their needs in a calm and polite manner and making choices that are moving them closer and closer to their goals of financial independence. I am honored to be the individual who gets show them what they need to know to be outstanding in their field. I am excited that they are going to be going out into the industry to make their fortunes. I particularly like it when I can recommend a student to go on for her bachelor’s degree. I love meeting their children and family and I am full of pride at their progress and where they are headed. In a world where so many people are full of lazy ennui and entitlement blasé my students are in a full hammer and tong forward motion to their goals, despite all their hardships, despite their exhaustion, despite the statistics.

Once I lived in a small house in Indiana. The back yard was full of trash and junk. My grandma and I cleared out the old shingles and boards, removed years upon years of trash, trimmed back the bushes and mowed the grass. A few months later we had hundred of irises coming up; they were gorgeous and had been hidden under all those old boards the entire time. I hope that I can bring as much to the teaching as they do to the learning.


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