A few days ago I got a interesting comment to a blog that I had posted. One of the comments that was mentioned was that I was not teaching the guys that I teach the right information. It was also stated that I some how was not effective in what I was doing because the guys that are here don’t take their education seriously.
Ironically the day after I got this comment, along with some other vile remarks, one of my students passed the GED test. After he passed the test we had a talk about what his future goals were. He laid out to me his goals and what he wanted to do with his GED. What was so interesting is that this was one of my Hispanic students that doesn’t speak any English. I say this, to those who genuinely desire to help others, that no matter what others say, or if they try to discourage you, there is at least one person that is counting on you!
I am getting close to coming home now and my students are concerned about getting another tutor that is interested in helping them and taking interest in their education, wanting nothing in return. The teacher that I work for is concerned about the same thing as well. Why is this so important to them? These are guys that are to be deported back to places such as Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, and the only thing that they have to show that they were here in this country is the GED that they got in prison. It is a sad reality that these are men who either sacrificed to come here or another relative scarified for them to come here to get what they had to get in prison, and that is an education. Look at the irony in that.
The one thing that most of us that are born here in the U.S. take for granted is the one thing that liberates another, a piece of paper that says that I have an American education. One thing that I have learned in all these years of incarceration is that if there is nothing else that can be expected, having some sort of education will cause others to respect you. This is something that is recognized no matter where you are from.
One of the most rewarding feelings is to pass this Puerto Rican kid throughout the prison and he just lights up and smiles. It is as if he cannot believe it. This was a guy who struggled and had many days where he just wanted to quit. It would be those days where I would tell him, “Oye manito! Que estas pasando? Yo creo en ti. Tenga confianza y fe. Haga lo mejor que puedes. Todo va a salir bien” (What is going on with you? I believe in you take trust in yourself and faith. Do the best that you can. Everything is going to come out well). It was these words of encouragement that helped him overcome the self doubt. Now that he has gotten his GED it is as if the world has opened up to him and he is able to see the possibilities that exist. That experience is enough to keep me involved no matter what anyone else may say, do, or think.