Day 42: “America, Yes Pencil”


Our awards ceremony for learners in the Intergenerational Literacy Program is fast approaching. Rather than asking one student to write a speech representing our class, we brainstormed with students what they like about ILP to incorporate into the speech.

When I asked one of my students what she likes, in her limited English she replied “I like… teacher. I like… English.” Then, glancing and waving her pencil said, “I like… pencil.” All of us at the table laughed politely, but the student became serious and attempted to explain what she meant. She exclaimed “Africa, no book, no pencil, no English. America, yes pencil, yes book, yes English.”

As her tutor, it was a proud moment for me that even though she is the lowest student at the table, she was able to communicate such a profound statement in the confidence that she did. It was also moving to witness her gratitude and appreciation for the class, which presents her with more educational supplies and resources than she would’ve been able to attain in her country.


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