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My Encore Story
I have taught writing skills to ESL students for the last 10 years: I still love my students and believe in what I do, but the institution I now work for has become increasingly bureaucratic and its actions have moved away from its original intent, which was to prepare students for college level coursework. I also feel as if I should be doing something "bigger." I don't doubt that my influence is large---my desk at this moment is covered with thank-you cards, gifts and testimonials from current and former students who passed freshman English and became great writers. But when I read the newspapers or listen to public radio, I find myself thinking about what I could do to change things, instead of being a bystander. A friend of mine said recently that he didn't watch the evening news anymore because "there's nothing you can do about it, it's too depressing." I replied, "Really? We can't?" I suppose I am still idealistic and naive, but I think that's the real gift my students and my own children gave to me: don't give up, believe, make it happen. Which is good: I was also a journalist for many years prior to my career in teaching, and that job robbed me for awhile of my trust in people. I am grateful that teaching recovered that for me.
I am thinking of taking courses in a foreign language, either Chinese or Farsi, so I can explore working abroad. I am also considering trying for a doctorate, either in American studies or education. (Yes it's expensive, but when will I do it if not now?) I see myself entering a new stage of my life now that my last child is launched into college. It's both exciting and a little daunting, and I'm hoping Encore can help me get over the hesitation to change.