English is Crazy

A friend of mine told me about PRC. I had just retired from teaching after about 100 years, or it felt like a 100 years. I went part time for a while, and then decided I wanted to try volunteering.  I had been a French teacher and, you know, French was easy. The grammar had rules. But English grammar? I have to tell my students, well, you say it that way because…you say it that way. English is crazy.

I started doing this years ago. At first, I met with a woman at the West Chicago library. We met for a long time. Now I meet with all different students in Open class at the Wheaton PRC office.

I learn all the time when I’m tutoring. Last week, I learned about Christopher Columbus. One of my students wanted to understand Columbus Day and the controversy about it. Who was Christopher Columbus? Why do some people want to celebrate him and some don’t? So we looked it up together. We talked about it. I learned something too.

I wish my students didn’t have to work these terrible hours. I wish they could be employed somewhere that paid them a living wage. It’s such as difficult life. I like all my students but I’ve been thinking about this young man from Burma lately. He was wonderful. I worked with him for about six months. He was so eager to learn and very intelligent. He’s gone on to College of DuPage now. He works 6am to 6am, with his job and school, around the clock.

He is someone I’ll never forget.

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