Custom NotebooksNovember 30, 2012
Ham & cream cheese wrapped pickle or asparagusDecember 4, 2012
Today I am pleased to share with you a guest post from writer Mark Victor Hansen, author of the books Chicken Soup for the soul (and it’s many variations).
How a personal challenge opened my
eyes to a world problem
It was my kindergarten
teacher who found out that I had a reading disability. I had no clue until she
tested me and came to the conclusion that I was going to find reading hard. I
adored my teacher – she genuinely cared about me. So when she thought it best
that I take up remedial reading, I took up her advice. My English tutor was
just as amazing as my teacher. She was extremely patient as she sat with me day
after day, helping me with my reading. She was considerate and kind, a real
pillar of support.
My parents were not too
liberal when it came to meeting my teachers. They were immigrants and mainly spoke
Danish. They were conscious, I suppose, that someone would pick on their
inability to converse in English. I personally haven’t really witnessed an
educated person make fun of someone for being uneducated, but I don’t blame
them for their fear. It seems to go with the culture.
What I learned as a person
who had to work hard to pick up English was that English is not just another
language that you may or may not know. English is the language – the language you have to know. The entire world,
joined across international borders, communicates using English. It’s become
the need of the hour. Today, many universities have schools dedicated to
teaching English as a Second Language. My first Alma Mater, Southern Illinois
University, boasts of one of the world’s best ESL schools. It teaches English
to kids in Vietnam and China. I think this cross border education is what will
bail America out.
The point is the
teaching process. Some people are taught to read and write by their parents and
then they go on to teach their kids. So why can’t these kids turn around and
teach their grandparents? Volunteering to teach someone something is an amazing
act – and today, the need for volunteers to teach English is high. I believe,
maybe because of my own experience, that whether the entity that taught you to
speak English was a school, university or person, what they really did was give
you a great gift.
When you teach someone
to read and write English, you open up a whole new set of doors for them. They
can see the world through a clearer perception, see things that they couldn’t
earlier. Reading lets them touch new horizons. More than teaching someone to
read, teach them to love reading. Then they’ll have the liberty of exploring
new worlds and opinions through a book. Show them the joys of visiting
bookstores and they will grow; and a part of you will come alive at the fact
that you are helping someone better their life.