The Community College I work at is an amazing place. After having spent a career teaching in affluence, I am now teaching in a place of diversity and where there is no guarantee that anyone was born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. There was no guarantee of that either in the high school I taught in, but the vast majority had no financial issues.
It is refreshing although sometimes disheartening when I see students who have needs and really don’t have the wherewithal or the finances to get the things that they need. Not that you need money to be educationally successful, but in my online French class alone, the textbook cost upwards of $200 and that is a sizable amount to many people. In my estimate, our country could benefit soundly from investing in its people by having healthcare, childcare, and education as a right. In the end, we would all benefit from having access to these. Unfortunately, we do not have a whole lot of politicians who agree with me.
This week is a busy one for me as I pinch-hit for a lot of my colleagues. It is FilmFest at Oakton and this is the 29th season we have had it. I think that normally, each language professor is responsible for ‘presenting’ a film once. Each of the nine languages offered at Oakton has a movie being shown and each is shown twice, once on each campus. Some languages only have one professor so it necessitates having someone to do the presenting and that is where I come in. This year I am presenting the Hindi-Urdu film, which is an amazing movie that truly knocked me out with its subject matter. It is called the ‘Namesake,’ a story of an Indian family newly arrived on American soil and details the trials and tribulations which ensue due to trying to maintain the old culture while acclimating to the new one. The woman who wrote the book on which the film is based, Jhumpa Lahiri, is an author who has written more than one well-received book and one I must soon discover in my reading life. She actually is even an actress in the movie. I am quite impressed.
The other movies I am presenting (I am presenting the Hindi-Urdu choice twice since the professor is an online educator not living in the U.S.) are in Italian, French (which makes sense), German, and Polish. My total is seven presentations. I am having a busy week doing this while teaching, doing grandchild time, and just being an overall busy human being.
I cannot believe that we do not have more attendees at this wonderful event, which is totally free to the community and to anyone willing to walk in Oakton’s door. The array of wonderful films and the languages that they represent are a huge tribute to Oakton and its commitment to education.