Ludolf Backhuysen, – Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

First off, if I was on this storm tossed boat I’d be hanging over the side chumming like nobody’s business.

I spent several hours today helping a friend write and organize a paper for her community college English 101 class.  This paper is the first she’s done in years, in fact, it’s probably the first one she’s done since 6th grade.

My friend K is bright, funny and insightful.  A great mom and a thoughtful person.  She is also one of the many people I’ve meet who managed to get “through” school by falling into the cracks.  Suspended and misunderstood, K didn’t graduate. Instead she got her GED at 17.

I walked home from her house pissed over all the things that she does know–because the system didn’t catch on that she needed help.

Now she is struggling to put her thoughts to paper.  To research and organize and outline and reference.  It’s a lot.

What frustrates me the most is that the teacher has only interacted with K by reading her papers.  I’ve been on that side of the desk and in the past I would have thought that my disorganized student was lazy and/or stupid.

Writing is hard. Doing it well takes practice. Tons of practice. At many points during our conversation about her paper, K blushed deeply and called herself silly or stupid because she didn’t know something.  I kept telling her this is her first paper, she just needs more practice.

Thankfully K has the balls to reach out and ask for help.  I wish I had half the courage she does.