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Portrait of Suzanne

Suzanne was a retired teacher who started off teaching in elementary school and high school and also taught English for non-English speakers. Toward the end of her career, she taught the General Equivalency Degree (G.E.D.) which certifies people who didn’t complete a high school diploma.

Suzanne started her college career at Marymount College in Palos Verdes, California, USA. But towards the end of her studies, she moved to the Loyola campus when Marymount joined with Loyola to become Loyola Marymount University. She majored in education and English and minored in French.

When Suzanne taught English, she preferred teaching literature. However, when she was teaching the GED, she had to teach a lot of writing. She found that it was difficult to teach people how to analyze all the aspects necessary to do a “five-part essay.” It was especially difficult to teach the non-English speakers to write essays.

At the time that we met, her daughter was also a teacher and Suzanne went to assist her daughter in her class two times a week. Suzanne noted that, “now they teach essay format at an earlier age.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.


Portrait of Chau

Chau and her family were refugees who fled Vietnam by boat in 1980. Chau came to the United States at four and one half years old, but not after a very harrowing series of events.

Chau was three and a half years old when her family left Vietnam and then landed on a little island where, and after two weeks, they were about to starve to death. Her mother sold her wedding ring for rice so they could survive. Then the Red Cross picked them up and brought them to the Philippines, where they lived for a year-and-a-half.

When Chau’s family first arrived in the United States, they stayed in San Francisco. After getting sponsored, they moved to Los Angeles, where Chau did most of her growing up.

Chau went to Loyola Marymount University where she studied electrical engineering. She worked a short time in this field, for a tech company, and afterwards realized she was not interested in being an engineer, and did not follow through with a career.

Five years prior to this posting, Chau was in a severe car accident, and at first, could not walk. With permanent paralysis looming, she saw an acupuncturist/herbalist, Dr. Lim, and a chiropractor, who enabled her to walk. Her muscles had to relearn everything and it took a long time to get back these skills. Although somewhat weakened and requiring a motorized chair to get around, she was happy she could walk at all.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.