I grew up in 1950 , Irish working class family near Youngstown, Ohio. Roman catholic school for eight years. Never knew anyone who wasn't working class either in steel mills or the auto industries or railroads. I was smart enough, but never the top of the line. Teachers were good and taught me well enough, but classes were big and I was just another kid. In high school I was in the college-bound classes but my friends were still all the working class kids. Didn't have a clue, until one day my high school English teacher said he thought I had "some talent" for writing. That's all it took! I was off and running. It wasn't easy, but I graduated from college and became a teacher. Even though I moved in the world of the "intellect" due to grad degrees and even some doctoral courses, I always felt between two worlds. I feel I learned valuable lessons in the working class world that aren't always learned if one is priveleged all through early life. Even though I was now a memeber of the educational group, I wound up teaching the poorest kids in the schools. Maybe it was the best place for me to be - I knew more about their lives than I did about children of the upper classes. I felt like the author on the show said: that the teachers who helped me most were those who helped me with life - not so much the coursework. Thank God I had teachers and professors who took the time to act as mentors to me. I've loved learning - and I love most the arts because they really touch the soul of a person. Sometimes poor children or kids who aren't academic never get exposed to any of the arts. Maybe it is better now - but it is through those classes that I learned to love life. I've written all my life - thanks to the kind words of one teacher who probably never gave it another thought. I wasn't his best student and he wasn't asking about my plans or helping me get into college. He opened a door and I knew he would read my stuff and give me feeedback. If one man or woman could do that for me, imagine what someone can really do if they try. I taught for 30 years and hope I helped some of my students the way he helped me, but teaching is one of the areas where you don't always know what happens. You do your best and hope.
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