Tuesday, March 8, 2011

National Fervor

"Our national fervor over college is based on a couple of false premises. One is that everything worth doing is only possible with education, not the education that experience gives us, but the kind that is acquired sitting in a classroom, paying tuition and spending exorbitent sums on textbooks.

The other is much more profound and troubling: that with the right support (the financial aid, the grants, the scholarships, the tutoring, the early intervention, the developmental courses, the disability services, the right counseling, the list goes on and on) anyone can get a college degree. It's patently false."*

I loved teaching at LCCC. I liked the diversity of the student body - not just racially speaking, but in age, experience, and difference in background (family, language, socioeconomic, religious, cultural). I had a wider variety of student than I would have had teaching at most other colleges, and as such, I was forced to create syllabi and lessons that I might not otherwise have done in another setting.

I saw students like me, who did not want to go to college, who should not have gone to college so soon out of high school, who had other things to worry about like childcare and jobs and spouses and elderly parents. That makes for a much more interesting class than 18-year-olds whose parents and grandparents went to college, who expected those 18-year-olds to go to college because "it's what people do." Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't; sometimes it isn't for another ten years.

* Geiselman, Kate. "My Hard Lessons Teaching Community College." Salon.com. Salon, 7 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011.

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