Doing something bigger than yourself
BSI www.bsilearning.edu.au runs a programme helping upskill Prisoners in correctional facilities…
below is why!!
Now, I know it’s Saturday – but I just couldn’t contain it!
An Aboriginal gentleman ( a HUGE guy) in Prison had a chat with me the other day.
This man had started coming to my class some years ago.
When he started coming to class, he was very limited in so many ways.
He couldn’t speak in sentences, he was withdrawn, when he spoke it was very difficult to hear him, he had no idea how to use computers, his schooling had been very limited and he’s in Stuart for life.
What was the point in doing anything?
So many times, I would sit beside him, leaning in closely, watching his lips, trying to understand what he was saying (could have used lip reading – although I am learning sign language). I would watch his face, and then repeat back to him what I thought he had said. We would repeat this process (upwards of 4 times) until I finally understood his statement / question.
This happened every time he came to class, and throughout each class. Initially, this was 4 times a week. Each year he continued to attend classes. I never pushed him, but always helped when he had a ‘concerned’ look on his face.
I watched this man go from almost illiterate and with little self worth, to walking into class with his head held high; sitting down at a computer and turning it on, logging on and opening MS Word and type a document of numerous pages. In later times, he would ask me about managing his headers and footers !!!!!!!
In other classes, he would freely contribute to class discussions – something he would not take part in initially.
This past week he came into the Education Wing for another course he was attending.
He saw me and came to me immediately. It was so nice to see him and I wondered how he was managing.
He was positively beaming – from ear to ear. He couldn’t stop.
He came up to me and clasped both my hands in his and just kept ‘hugging’ my hands.
He told me that he had attended a class in the computer room with another tutor. In this class he had to type a number of documents.
He proudly announced that he completed ‘his assignment’ (notice, 3 syllables) before anyone else did. The tutor asked him how he did that. This man said – Miss taught me!
And he thanked me for taking the time to teach him one-on-one; and not treat him like one of the mob. It made all the difference.
He said he has talked to other Aboriginals in the centre and told them if they have a chance to attend class with me, to take it. He said – You take the time to teach us individually (blew me away – 6 syllables!).
Took me a while to come back down to earth after this!
I haven’t seen him again – just that one day.
But it had made my year!
I just had to tell you.
Hope you are enjoying the weekend!