Sometimes when it is least expected, a door of opportunity opens; again, when least expected, sometimes it also closes. Without hesitation I can say my exhilaration when offered the chance to write a column for the Nevada Appeal was much greater than the disappointing surprise of no longer having that voice to the people of my hometown, Carson City. I enjoyed writing this column for many reasons.
I have held many positions requiring writing skills. All of them had assignments or objectives, and often subjects were not chosen by me, such as writing feature stories or imagination invoking short stories for children. At the Legislature I was a committee secretary for the Committee on the Judiciary and wrote minutes for the record of the meetings. Those two sessions were valuable lessons in how our government works.
As a news writer for a radio news station, the job required writing eight versions of every story, each containing all the facts. It was imperative that writers not get emotionally involved or form opinions about any story. “Just the facts, Ma’am” was the only thing required. I realized I had been desensitized to reality.
A newscaster at the radio station often did “man on the street” interviews. He was respected for his interviewing style; once he went out and asked several people, “What is apathy?” The most frequent response was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” He ended that segment with, “Everybody answered correctly. We have to make some changes, folks.”
I was an English/reading teacher to about 4,000 students. I taught in the classroom, as private tutor, in prisons, and for the Department of Defense teaching military personnel.
I also was a special education tutor to children who had some restrictive surgery, had a debilitating disease, or were failing in school. It will never cease to amaze me how progress accelerates in a tutorial situation. It was as a tutor when I formed my very negative opinion of labeling children because they use them as excuses and a crutch to learning. I believe labeling is the biggest reason our country’s quality of education ranks lower than many others.
There is a clear difference between American students and foreign students. The motivation to become educated is very high in students from abroad; Americans are defiant and lazy because we have silently taught them that attitude in advertising and on television.
A columnist for the Nevada Appeal was the best writing job I ever had! I had free hand in my subject matter and could comment on the issues I deemed important. My only objective was to get citizens to think and react. I appreciated the opportunity to write about my views on education.
Today I continue to be joyful and humbled by the way Carson City responded. It was never a goal to change anyone’s mind but to provide a different perspective. To all of you who called me or wrote, thank you. My columns were about the people, things and events that formed my standards for living and interacting with others. It was an excellent 52 weeks of sharing life with the people who live here, too. I will miss writing a column; I hope you miss reading them. With age comes sage; one’s fate either causes an angry rage, or is accepted to allow them to move on to the next page of life’s adventure.
So long, Farewell, auf Weidersehen, Au revoir, Arrivederci, Sayonara, Adios, Do Zobaczenia, Shalom, and Goodbye. Thank you, Carson City!
Ann Bednarski is a longtime educator and journalist.