swahkee Profile picture
Aug 7, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
I want to say something about the issue of #Saudi students in Canada likely being relocated.

I worked at a language school in the US, some years ago. We had Saudi male and female students. All of the female students had a guardian - brother, husband, sometimes cousin. 1/
We worked very hard to be culturally sensitive, and our students very much reciprocated.

But students are students. There was a male student who... never came to class. Never did any work. Repeated levels over and over again.

Problem was, he was a guardian for his sister. 2/
She was a diligent student, not top of the class, but diligent.

It got to the point where her brother was going to flunk out of school, and with that likely have to return to KSA.

Only... he wouldn't be going alone. He'd take his sister with him. 3/
So we teachers were getting pressure, from students, admin & even each other, to... not flunk the brother.

Now, I will state that plenty of not-entirely-above-board business has been known to go on in for-profit language schools, in the US & elsewhere. 4/
But the situation was... kind of cut and dry. The brother had had his chance. And anyway, we wouldn't be telling him to leave the US... just that he had used up his time at our school. If he could get accepted at another school, and get KSA to pay for it, all 👍 5/
But then there was the sister. Paying for her brother's mistakes. Or so we saw it.

Anyway there was hand-wringing. I had a hand in one of the brother's marks in a less important class, I think. I was among the first to declare that his mark would be his mark. 6/
I tried v hard not to sound callous about the sister. I DID care about her. But... this was so clearly not our system. Under the rules of the (often unwieldy, rarely just) US immigration system... she could stay & study. Under the rules of the school... she could stay & study. 7/
How could we be held accountable for something that was not. our. system?

& anyway, I don't claim to know what was in the sister's mind, or speak for her, but when I did overhear her a bit (I understand some Arabic), she sounded... not as torn up as people were assuming. 8/
You can assume wrongly about someone both ways, is what I'm saying. And she had seen the writing on the wall awhile ago.

(Does that make it OK? No. But it does mean that she also wasn't approaching things from our perspective, and it was wrong to assume that she was). 9/
The brother did flunk out. He and the sister did depart. And no, I don't know what happened to them after that.

We felt bad about it. We teachers, the admin (I suppose, also lost $$), and... yeah, that was it. That was life. 10/
I don't have grand conclusions about anything happening in #Canada right now, & I know what it's like to have one's life thrown into upheaval due to things entirely beyond one's control.

But there are limits to what you can do. AND be held responsible for.

That's... life. 11/11

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