Hope all is well on your end. I’ve completed and submitted a mound of paperwork and assessments and am now enjoying my time off. In a week, I will begin to get antsy but for now, I love the extra time for shopping, baking and playing games at night with the kids, rather than lesson planning.
Lynn called me the other day from Seattle. It wasn’t the first time. She called on Thanksgiving to wish me a happy holiday and she called shortly after getting settled in her new home. She said to said hello to you, which is the reason for this message. If you recall, Lynn is the sweet grandma from Burundi. She’s been a staple at the PRC. She’s been there longer than I, having studied English for at least 5 years.
Her progress has been slow and subtle. It’s no secret that I can get discouraged at the rate at which some of my students progress, but after talking with Lynn, and thinking about it over the past few days, I marvel at just how far she’s come.
She said barely a peep to me for the first couple of semesters and it was a real struggle for her to merely sign her name for attendance when she started. Over time, she started to volunteer in class and share much more with me. Still quiet and gentle, but nonetheless, willing to speak. Her writing improved slightly, but she was never able to pass a single assessment or exam. It might appear to some that she failed to make any gains. BUT…. her educational gains appeared in the form of confidence and a sense of belonging.
Most of my students can’t progress to the next level. Their lack of fundamental literacy prohibits them from advancing. Certainly by most standards, that news seems depressing. But Lynn and many, many other students, leave our class with enough English under their belts to gain a sense of confidence, independence and willingness to try new things.
It required a lot of courage for Lynn to leave her home in Illinois, and everything familiar to move AGAIN to Seattle for the next few months, to help with her friend’s baby.
That, my friend, is a MAJOR educational gain.
Am I right? : )