Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Struggles of Teaching-Eboo Patel

Eboo Patel came to Loyola last week to discuss his book “Acts of Faith” that the freshman class had to read before starting the school year in September. The book defines the power each individual has to change problems in the United States today, specifically revolved around religious pluralism. Through his lecture he spent a lot of time discussing what it means to him to achieve pluralism in your life. He thinks that the passion to change and evolve for the better is within the young people. He challenged all of us present at his lecture to participate in the search for pluralism and work towards uniting the world under this belief. He believes the notion that each person is identified and fulfilled by the work we do in the world. Even though Eboo is a Muslim, this idea of doing for others is that very similar to a Jesuit education. Pointing out religious similarities can help to unite people despite their religious backgrounds but to help and serve for those less fortunate through community service projects. Once all of the different religious groups start to work together it promotes pluralism in that the participants can learn from each other about their religious differences as well as similarities.

Eboo felt like a outsider at times throughout his book, the entire book is a tale of finding yourself, despite how other people thought of him he was determined to make something out of his life for the well being of everyone. Just like the young student in the poem “Theme of English B” written by Langston Hughes, Eboo felt like he was alienated in many situations including schooling. Just as the student was probably the only African American in his class, in many instances Eboo was the only Muslim. This similar struggle is also seen in the poem “ Queen,1963” because the themes also present hardships about being different from the crowd, while moving to the United States during a very radical Civil Rights movement. Eboo, and the students in the two poems encounter difficulties assimilating themselves with new cultures simultaneously with trying to remember heritage, and where they originally may have come from.

Eboo is now just another teacher for anyone who is willing to learn about the Inter faith Youth Core in hopes of spreading his ideas of Pluralism throughout the youth of the United States. In the other three poems that we read, they each are expressing different ways that we can be taught. Students in the poems do not understand that the lessons that they learn from their teachers can help each of them become a better person. The teacher’s plans usually go beyond the walls of the classroom, to help the students in the real world to mature and grow. In the poem “this morning (for the girls of eastern high school), I think that it is about someone who has learned a lot about herself due to her surroundings and experiences at school. Although it may be a more positive one than that of the speaker of “Fork”, who reflects on a teacher who ruined his idea of a positive education by seemingly crushing dreams instead of promoting his dreams of becoming a success. Because the teacher was constantly meticulous the student took his aggravation out by stealing the teacher’s fork. Once he steals the fork, he takes the story of the teacher with him everywhere as he tries to get back at the teacher in a sense, for not believing in him.

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