Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Forget the Pity Party, What About Your Students?

I want to thank Kate for her stellar post (one among many) on the state of adult education in Canada.  And I want to thank her for getting me riled up enough to do some morning advocacy (and maybe some laundry as well).

Here is my response to her post, but I sincerely hope you will visit her blog directly.  Kate has decades of experience as a teacher and trainer in adult education.  She has been an inspiration to me and I don't know how many others, and I am so grateful she found me on the Internet so I could learn from her.

[Kate says], "However, no matter how leaky our boat may be, it is nearly always better than the boats our students are in. Figuring out what to do with that difference is part of our daily reality." 

Thank you, Kate.  I was about to have a morning anxiety-party about my senile dog, student loans, health challenges, etc.  But I read your post and thought, "Katherine, you might have fallen into bed early from exhaustion last night.  But you got up, had food to pack for lunches, had water and munchies to give the pets and decorations to put up for fall.  You have the whole day in front of you.  Are you going to waste it worrying about money and things you can't control, or are you going to do something productive?" 

I try to give my students a similar message, that it doesn't matter where you are, you can still make a positive difference in yourself and the world. How dare I not take my own advice when I am sitting here in a comfy chair at a computer and they are in cells trying to untangle the horrible messes they've made of their and others' lives?

As to Dee's question [on how adult educators can attend conventions at 'swank hotels' when their students are homeless and hungry], "What's wrong with this picture?" I am reminded of my experience working in middle management for a for-profit, career college that scammed underprivileged students.  Career Education Corporation, owner of Gibbs Colleges and other unethical schools, threw a huge convention in New Orleans, complete with a private parade and cruise, a live band, slick hotel, shrimp dinners, cocktails, etc.  They did it on the students' and the tax payers' dime.  When I said something to my supervisor, he said, "At some point, you have to decide which team you're on--the students' or the administrators'." 

If you want to know more about the disgusting state of our higher education system, feel free to check out my blog: 
This is the kind of corruption we are fighting here, and I confidently claim it contributes to an increase of adult students who land in, return to or stay in our prison system. 

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