Ngoc Nguyen (NN): After the war my dad was in prison. My mom had to take care of five of us and I had to go out to work when I was like in sixth or seventh grade. Then, when I get to 10th grade, I just dropped out.
Christopher Myers (CM): You never gave any hint that you had had that kind of childhood.
NN: Yes, there’s a lot of things to tell about my childhood but, I just want to ask you one question-
NN: Well you know sometimes in the classroom I know that we get on your nerves.
CM: Ok, so are you wanting to know do you guys get on my nerves sometimes?
NN: Uh huh.
CM: No, I’m going to choose my words wisely because first and foremost, this is honest to God truth. So many people work and they don’t even like what they do. And they’ll tell you, OK, we’ll go get that paycheck. Right. But, if the only time you’re happy is when you get paid, that’s a waste of a life. What a lot of people don’t know about instructing when you do it right, you’re allowing somebody to go into you and take energy away from you. And you have to do that. So I end up very drained sometimes. But at the end of the day, whatever it is that my learners take out, they put back in me.
NN: You go out of your way to do for us, and I really appreciate that.
CM: You know, I had a student tell me they saw you and you were crying when you passed the last test. Um, every bit of work that we’ve ever done to get you to this point, it was worth it just to know that you were crying tears of joy. That I helped you do something that you’re so happy about, you had tears.
Because with you, it wasn’t an easy mission. Like, think about after you took your first test. The first score was like a two, right? And I know that can be extremely discouraging. I have a lot of students that I don’t see any more after that. But then to see you back the next day, I’m like okay, we’re fightin’. And when I see a fighter, I get excited. I’m like, okay, bring it, you know, me and you against the world. And that’s how I feel.
NN: I just want to tell you that I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. You change people’s lives. Because after I passed my GED, I feel like I have wings Now. I can fly (laughs).
CM: You can, and don’t, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.