Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Teacher, Grasshopper, Has Become The Student

Not a bit of this is made up, friends. It's a Hallmark movie of the week, and it's in my classroom.

We are discussing The Constitution in Debate class right now. The kids are starting to watch the news and beginning to relate current events to our Constitution.

The other day, the topic of immigration came up. The camp was pretty divided among the group. All points of the spectrum were heard. After class, a girl pulled me aside.

I had already decided to love this girl, she has been asking a friend and I to start a Philosophy club at school and she is President of the Model UN. The kids really look up to her, but she hadn't been particularly outspoken about anything until immigration.

"I'm going to get very emotional when we talk about immigration, Ms. Educat."

"Well, you know it's my goal that we always speak respectfully. Tell me how you might be offended."

Her eyes shift around a bit and she sighs

"I'm illegal, Ms. Educat. I really want to be a citizen and as soon as my dad can be a citizen, I will be a legal alien. That's the first step."

"Help me out, I am afraid I might be kind of ignorant here. How hard is the process of gaining legal status?"

Her eyes get big and start to water

"It's hard, it's really been hard for us. We've been here ten years and it costs a lot of money, but my dad has a good lawyer and we're getting close. I hear my parents talking sometimes about how hard this process is and if it's worth it. We have more in America than we would in Mexico..."

I hold onto her hands and ask her if she thinks it's worth it.

"It is. That's what I want to say when I hear people talking about how we should all go home."

I promise aloud to her the chance to be heard and promise myself that I will learn more about immigration.

I feel like I can never know enough.


Amerloc said...

Immigration is insanely tough.

A fine young man I know by way of his being married to my step grand-daughter was "in-process" prior to 9/11.

That froze everything.

I had always believed that marrying a citizen pretty much clinched and facilitated the process, but that, at least in this case, is patently untrue.

It's starting to look as if he'll have to wait until their four-year old son is 18 to "get legal."

(And I'm glad I haven't been so spammed that I need to add the commenting security you have, LOL. Ahh, the prices of fame...)

Susan said...

Go ahead, make me cry. Why not?

I think this speaks volumes about you, as a teacher and a presence in these kids' lives, that this young woman told you all this. I'm proud to know you.

Where are those Kleenex?

P M Prescott said...

My nephew's wife is waiting to get a green card so she can work legally much less try and get citizenship.
We do whine a lot about how bad we have it sometimes, but when you see the hardships of all the people that come here from somewhere else it puts it into so much better perspective.