1,000 miles: step 39

My goal is to teach creative writing at the college level. I have several years to wait, but for the past year I’ve had the opportunity to tutor at my local library.

For an hour, this teenager and a grown adult become student and teacher. Many of my “students,” are people who have never touched a computer or whose knowledge is limited. I can tell when we first meet, he or she assumes because I am so young, I will know everything about the computer. I don’t. In fact, I discovered a while ago through a friend, I don’t even know my operating system from company brands.

But I know enough to teach the basics. And when I say teach, I mean teach. Every one learns differently. I’ve had to slow down my speech or simplify my language with English as a second language learners. I’ve had to elaborate and define with the curious. I’ve had to find images, illustrate my own, point, and demonstrate. This is one-on-one teaching.

I can’t imagine handling an entire classroom… but it is something I am willingly to grow into, particularly since meeting people is thrilling. I believe we’ve all got something to teach each other.

Many of the people who visit me at the library are going through changes in their life. Some need a change of career, and some have unemployment-blues .

Over a month ago, I visited the Department of Education as part of a panel of students to discuss how immigration status and education can overlap, and what happens when they do. Although the audience wasn’t big, they were definitely curious. And so was I. The other students in the panel were recent graduates and had gone through several hardships. Hearing their stories, complicated in their own right, reminded me that a struggle isn’t its own outcome. It’s not the end of the line. It’s a perfect opportunity for growth.

I get closer to my ultimate goal by reminding myself: everyone is going through challenges–I’m no exception, and therefore not alone.

taken at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover
Claudia at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover

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