-88-
22 March 2008
Dear Lorne,

Would you agree that one way or another, we are all teachers? Anyone who communicates, in doing so, circulates their effluence to whoever may be willing to process it, then pass it on. Some things can be taught, while others just come naturally. The more we gain experience in any given field, the better placed we are to help others benefit from what we have learned along the way.
What pearls of wisdom would you impart to those hoping to follow in your footsteps? 

By the time I was finally able to get through the ongoing quagmire of getting my papers in order so that I could get a job to help provide for my children, whatever savings I had were long since depleted. After a few months of reconditioning computers for minimum wage, I was able to bluff my way into a job teaching English, replacing the teacher at a vocational training center who had suddenly quit. The apprentices were required to attend class for a certain number of hours in addition to working long shifts for a paltry training wage. After years of being ground down by an education system more slanted to stratify than provide options, for the first time they had a choice whether or not to actively participate. By persuading their employer that knowing English was not essential to their job function, they could be officially excused, although they still had to be physically present in the classroom, which detracted from the already elusive attention span of the other students, oblivious to when and where the entertainment crossed over to learning.

When starting with a new group, your mettle will most likely be tested, offering the chance to show what you're made of. Often the best way to deal with the brash one who comes forward is to allow them enough rope to trip themselves over. Nothing can help you appreciate your parents like becoming one yourself. Both teacher and student stand to take a great step forward if able to see things from the others' perspective. Many language teachers talk too much, when the priority should be to break the shell of processing words via a single path, building confidence in a new tongue, one phrase at a time. By dividing into small groups and adopting a game show approach, even those who had no obligation to join in, looked forward to being part of the action.  

Often the occupations which most enrich the spirit, are the least likely to lead to tangible wealth, yet of what we leave behind, the only thing that matters is the difference we made to others.

Teach your children well,