December 31, 2004

TRASH HEAP

Bunker wrote about the notion that the military is "society's trash heap", and I only have one thing to add. Having taught four sections of college English, I can say that the soldiers in my classes are just like students in any other classes. There are those who work hard, those who make excuses, and those who simply don't show up. I have had numerous non-native speakers who have taken my class and excelled because they worked hard to improve the English that they barely had learned by basic training. I have had students whose foundations have really impressed me; they must have worked hard in high school. And I've also had students who don't want to think for themselves and call me every time a paper is due to ask me what they should write. I believe that's the same cross section as I had when I taught at University of Illinois, and I imagine it's the same for any class anywhere.

The one difference I see is when my students write their narrative paper on one incident in their lives that has made them who they are today. That's when things start to get serious. By and large, my students have overcome extreme obstacles to get to this point in their lives, far more so than my college friends or I have. They've survived gang shootings, jail sentences, IEDs, domestic abuse, immigration without being able to speak English, combat deaths of their friends, and extreme poverty to get to where they are today. Most are grateful to have been given the opportunity to be in college, and they take nothing for granted. They've worked hard to get where they are, far harder than most of my peers in college.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:37 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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