hardwired for hope

Thank you to Suzanne Smythe for posting my letter to the Minister of Advanced Education regarding the proposed cuts to ABE. If you want to read it, it’s here on the Adult Basic Education Matters blog, where there are many other great posts and updates on the current situation for ABE in BC.

The title of today’s post comes from a book my ESL colleague gave me; she found it while tidying up their resource room and thought I might like it. Skimming through it, I see it is a meticulously researched and passionately written document that attempts to answer the question, “What are the qualities of an effective adult basic education instructor?” Looking through the authors of various essays and sections of the book, I see many familiar names–there are people I know from my work in ABE articulation; there are people I knew when I was a regional literacy coordinator; there are people who taught in my college’s CCP department until they retired a few years ago. Their writing talks about what they do in the classroom, the students they work with, and the perspectives and principles that drive them to keep working in a field that is often misunderstood and perpetually underfunded.

Our profession lures people who are bent towards having a belief and trust in humanity, an inherent quality, which, for many, is embedded in our basic understanding of ourselves as ABE/Literacy practitioners. Difficult situations present themselves to us daily and hope plays a big role in helping many of us manoeuvre through these challenges and act effectively. Hope affects the way some of us define situations, hope is an element in our decision-making, and hope keeps many of us searching to find ways to better work with our students. In order to do the job we do, ABE/Literacy practitioners need to be hardwired for hope.

(from p. 6, Hardwired for Hope, by Evelyn Battel et al, 2004)

The reason I keep writing these letters to ministers and other officials is because I am hardwired for hope. Sometimes it is tiring, but as long as I hold out some hope that things might change for the better, I’ll keep doing it.

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