Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A Letter To An Unnamed Student


Dear Unnamed Student,

I am writing you this letter because I feel the need to apologise. Recently, I was thinking back to our lessons, and I realised I needed to say sorry. I should have given you more when you were a student in my class.

There was clearly a problem from the beginning. As you were all too aware, the other students in your class were at a higher level than you. You struggled to produce even the most basic sentences when asked and it was clear from the beginning that you weren’t going to fit in. I imagine that made you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, maybe even ashamed and lonely. I hate to think of anyone feeling that way in one of my classes.

When I look back on it now, I wish I had been more thoughtful and considerate. Unfortunately amongst us teachers there was an unspoken agreement that you were somehow unteachable. I think we thought that to give you the lessons you needed would have been detrimental to the other students in your class. Now I don’t think that’s true, I think we told ourselves that to make us feel better. We wanted to be reassured into thinking that by neglecting you, we were doing the right thing.

And that’s what I want to apologise for. We were wrong. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, or was incapable of finding a way to help you, but I was lazy of thought and I took the easy way out. You were there in my classroom and you deserved as much of an opportunity to learn as anyone else. So I’m sorry, and I want you to know I’ll never do that to another student for as long as I teach.


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