March 24, 2010

Ordinary Miracle

My friend Judy and find that it's about this point in the semester when the quirks and habits of the students are either endearing or maddening. And for some reason, this week--the week after spring break--has brought a shower of maddening quirks, with one sad one. Not somebody died sad, but teachery sad, which is ultimately a happy thing.

She had a student who had been a doctor in the Ukraine? Russia? Romania? Somewhere over there. A white coat medical doctor. Several years ago they amazingly got visas to immigrate to America. But none for their parents who they lived with. She wanted to stay. He said if we don't go, we'll never go. If we don't go, we're all lost. They went. I think his first job was something like picking up trash in schools after hours; her first was playing piano for a Montessori school--jobs that don't require English. Those kinds of jobs. Then after ten years of this he got a job near us, an hour from Los Angeles, that could support both of them, and she decided to go to school to really learn English. She was in my friend's remedial English class.

When Judy opened up her mail on Monday after Spring Break there was a drop notice from this student. Wow, Judy said. My favorite student who was so hungry to learn is gone, Judy said. My favorite student who'd made teaching the lower level class rewarding. She wrote her an email, wondering. A day or two later the return email arrived. This woman , who had come to America and had been waiting for ten years until the right moment, had been granted admission to the pediatric residency program of Loma Linda University and was going to be a doctor again.

I've been listening to Sarah McLachlan's Ordinary Miracle song ever since she sang it on the Olympics. I think this story is one of those ordinary miracles, one of those teachery miracle stories that help me when I'm a bit dragging. We're here. Students are here. And when it all works--that the student gets to where they want to go--and we somehow knew them at some point in that trajectory, well, it's just an ordinary miracle. It's why we hang in there through the maddening quirky moments and do the grading and the lesson prep and hope and dream and encourage and push and pull.

I salute you all.





SOLSC Day 25. Click to return.

10 comments:

  1. Your SLice takes my breath away. Thanks Elizabeth,
    I LOVE TEACHERS!
    Bonnie

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  2. Not only is the message right on, but your writing is beautiful and enriching. What a way to start the day.
    Thanks
    Kevin

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  3. a success story is a wonderful way to start my day!

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  4. Isn't it amazing that just when we start to focus on the wrong stuff, a story about the right stuff comes into our lives and helps us to recenter. Thanks

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  5. Today I will take these words,"It's why we hang in there through the maddening quirky moments and do the grading and the lesson prep and hope and dream and encourage and push and pull" and hold it tight when I feel the need for encouragement.

    Thanks

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  6. Beautiful writing, Elizabeth. You totally rock my world! Thank you. And a bow to you as well...

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  7. WOW. I can't imagine the courage that must have taken...to leave a medical career behind to be a Montessori piano player. I can imagine the excitment she must have felt, being able to go back to medical school. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Elizabeth,
    Thank you for highlighting a student's personal success today! This is exactly the kind of watercooler talk I crave right now.

    -Carrie

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  9. Great story! I am so happy for that student. It's so important to have stories that inspire us.

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  10. This post made me think of several families I've known over the years. Quietly working hard to achieve their goals, prioritizing and placing education at the top they lived simply to prepare for careers that would bring their families security. I was humbled by their effort and sacrifice. It's to be admired. Your post illustrates that effort beautifully.

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