I have had a number of emails lately via English/ESL. I will share the gist, because I find this both heartwarming and admirable, but I am leaving out many details for privacy reasons.
The first email was a request for help.
My daughter is in year 12 at [a south-western Sydney school]. She has recently sat her trial HSC. She received her marks for English paper 1 and was very disappointed. […] is in English Advanced…
My daughter is a high achiever and wants to continue her studies into Uni studying medicine… I looked at her paper … and i can see where her mistakes are.. and i believe there is room for improvement.
I noticed on your site the HSC workshop 2 on imaginative journeys and also creative writing. I was wondering if those workshops were available out side of the school you teach & if so how much are they, also how much do you charge for tutoring. Or is it possible we can work something out online that can help her improve her arguments and overall writing… I have tried to explain answering the HSC English paper to her but i do not think that i am helping her as she knows that i myself did not finish high school.
I want to help […] gain her dream of being a Doctor.
When she gets into Uni she will be the first of my family ever to have gone on to such a high degree or in fact the first to ever go to Uni. I am a single mum of 4 and will try to find the funds necessary.
I look forward to hearing from you and would like to thank you for your time and any help you can give […] to improve her writing.
I explained that for a number of reasons I could not help much — being constrained by the fact I am on a pension and am thus limited in what extra I may earn being just one. I also pointed out that any materials on English/ESL are free to use.
Without telling the correspondent I forwarded the letter to The Rabbit, who may have been able to help as he does tutor in an area much closer to her than I am. However, The Rabbit is fully booked until after the HSC. (Perhaps, though, he knows someone else who could help?)
There were some follow-up mails which I won’t place here. My reason for posting the one above, though, is that I really admire this woman. These are the kinds of people who give heart to teachers in what are so often depicted as “hopeless” areas. Additionally, what a mighty job those teachers are doing.
Tangentially related 😉
Finding your voice… on Bruce’s blog.