<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d30878775\x26blogName\x3dWhy+Do+You+Ask?\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dLIGHT\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://ydouask.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://ydouask.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-3194811367467951108', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Former Students - My Expert Speakers For My 7th Graders

Nguyet Tran

Sarah Sajwani

I have had several former students/athletes come to my class throughout the year.  I love it for many reasons:

  1. I get to catch up with my kids, and continue to help them.
  2. I get to see some results of my work (and the work of other teachers).
  3. I learn about the world from them - This year's students have been to South Africa, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Rome, Germany, France, Boston, and all of the Southeast United States.
  4. My current students get to see first-hand that it is POSSIBLE for them to "make it" too. 
  5. Other teachers, get to meet these wonderful people, and know that what they do counts in the lives of the children they teach.
The two young ladies above, Nguyet (from Vietnam) and Sarah (from Pakistan) came to tag-team.  Both of the them moved to the United States when they were six years old.  They met in Dalton in 7th grade (that's when I met them).  They became good friends then. 

Their parents knew that without moving here, their children would not have the POSSIBILITIES of a good life had they stayed in their home country.

Sarah's story - Her father and mother moved when Sarah was 6 (1994) because tuition for school in Pakistan was too expensive for them to pay for her and her younger brother.  They would have to make a decision on which one could have an education...daughter (and risk her safety), but then she could teach her younger brother - or son (and keep daughter from learning). Their decision? Come to the United States and educate them both.  They came with $20, no knowledge of the English language, and a dream.

My students asked how they made it.  Sarah said, "Sacrifice, friends, and hard work."  She just graduated from Emory University.  She heard Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger give her Commencement Address.

Sarah showed pictures of her homeland, and city of Karachi.  She told my kids, "Don't let anyone tell you that you are not able to go to college. You can find a way.  You are fortunate to be here.  Your parents want you to be successful.  There is always a way.  You can get money through loans, grants, and good grades.  Take advantage of the opportunities you have because you are here."

Nguyet's story - Her father fought for the South Vietnamese against Ho Chi Minh's communist armies.  He was a Prisoner of War for six years.  He told his daughter he lived on rodents, cockroaches, beatings, and hope.  When he was released, his communist guards asked him if he learned anything.  His response, "Yes I have.  You are jerks." 

He lost everything. He was homeless in Saigon.  He was starving and sick.  He was begging, when a lady came by.  He asked her for medicine.  She had no medicine, but she had compassion.  She went home and stole medicine from her family to take to the man.  This is how Nguyet's parents met.

Yes - there were some tears shed when she told that story.

Nguyet's shared some more.  "In communist Vietnam, the government wants to control everything in your life.  The first child a couple has is free.  If a second child is born within three years, there is a 'fee' the parents must pay to the government.  No one intentionally has a third child, because the 'fee' is more than anyone can pay.  So the parents usually kill off the third child at birth."

She continued, "We moved to Vermont in 1994, I was six years old.  My family rented a single room in a house.  I slept with my sister in a single bed, my brother had his own bed, and my parents shared a bed."  She paused..."My parents were making $3.50-$4.00 an hour.  My daddy collected cans and bottles to buy a carton of eggs so we could eat."  She paused longer...

I stopped her.  I asked the class to do some critical thinking.  A real ESSENTIAL QUESTION was coming.  The ONLY TRUE "ESSENTIAL QUESTION" I HAVE EVER ASKED.

Class, I said, "How many children could a Vietnamese couple have."

"Two," several students replied.

"How many?" I asked again.

"Two, Mr Murry," said one student.

I just stared at them, and softly said, "Someone please use some critical thinking, before Nguyet continues."

One student slightly gasped, "Uuuhhh, you were a third child." 

Then another student said, "Wow.  You shouldn't be...and he stopped."


That's right - Nguyet, this beautiful young lady, born to most other Vietnamese families would have been killed the moment of her birth.  But I was fortunate enough to be her teacher. 

Nguyet's father died at the age of 71 on April 30, 2009.  He was 51 when Nguyet was born.  He worked for six years of her life to be one of the former Vietnamese soldiers to be allowed to seek refuge in the United States.  Nguyet had to put college on hold for a year when her father became sick, and the months that followed his death to work with attorneys, medical people, and others to make sure all bills were covered by insurance.  She was 20 years old, doing adult things for her mother, who speaks little English. 

Nguyet started college at Berry College, then returned to Dalton State, and will finish her degree at Kennesaw State University next year.

Both girls are going to be nurses: Sarah wants to work in Geriatrics, Nguyet wants to work in Pediatrics. 

Fortunate will be the person who is born under Nguyet's care and finishes their time with Sarah.  How do I know?  Because I know them as one in the middle of those time periods. 

I am a lucky man to have taught the kids I have.

Posted via email from Murry's World


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home