3 thoughts on “Letters

  1. I like two ideas here: the “Letter of Civic Engagement” and teacher as casket. I am thinking about how the “Letter” idea would work for ESL students. Most international students are not so engaged. Would they all choose Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt instead just to tell them how much they like their films, their lifestyle, their politics? Would they all write to Obama because he might be the only American politician they know, but what would they say? Food for thought. The “casket” role is unfortunately too real. This has been especially true in ESL 25 when students have been working on their third paper, and they are working with Cavafy’s “Ithaka” in their essay. So much time and energy go into this paper, and I somehow convince myself that students would want to “treasure” this paper after working on it so long. And every time I teach that class, the stack of folders containing all their drafts including the final graded draft remains in my office the following quarter with students not coming by to retrieve their “masterpieces.” Students have returned to Foothill at times after 5 or 10 or even 15 years, and some have remarked that they remember nothing of their classes with me except the Cavafy poem. Perhaps the experience working with that poem stays with some students even when they leave their papers in the casket.


  2. Great story! Years ago when Rosemary Arca was encouraging us all to infuse Volunteer Service into our curriculum, I would send students out to help write brochures, newsletters, news releases, and so forth for clubs and local non-profits. Note the phrase “years ago.”

    Also reminds me that the needs of Vets and how to help them is a recurring theme on some of these blogs. Ben Stefonick take note: more Veteran-focused staff development workshops needed!


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