Terri is passionate about teaching, and worked with the students of Boston College for almost two decades. Here she shares her thoughts on her teaching and students.
I was blessed with the opportunity to work with the talented Boston College students from 1996-2013. Listening, helping them to write, shape and find meaning in their stories, I’ve borne witness to an astonishing wellspring of courage, resilience and grace.
A young man writes a heartbreaking memoir of innocence lost. At thirteen, after a pickup basketball game, he’s caught in gangland crossfire, and a close friend dies in his arms. Frightened, grief-stricken, confused, he walks through a horrific hell of guilt and rage, and emerges on the other side—a student, a poet, a writer.
A young mother, emotionally and physically battered, finds in God the courage to take her child and leave her abuser. Another, a political refugee, living in Boston since the age of five, now 22 and facing deportation, works through the frustrating complexities of the immigration system, fighting for citizenship, desperate to stay in the U.S.—her home, the only country she knows—with her husband and kids.
A Cambodian immigrant fights hard-line conservative parents for the right to an education. A woman suffering crippling pain finds healing in Jesus. A teenage boy wrestles the demon of Oxycontin addiction, and a newlywed wife struggles to be a good mother to her beloved son, while acting as the sole caretaker for her young husband, the love of her life, a former pro golfer ravaged by ALS.
There’s the beautiful Zambian literacy activist, the physician, the pretty, unapologetic stripper and the loving seventy-two-year-old homemaker who offers her unconditional support, the policeman, the emerging comic, the nursery school teacher—their stories inspire me, they fire indignation, make me fighting mad at the system, they make me sad, they make me think, they make me cry…
And they make me laugh.
Teaching is rewarding work—and it’s damn hard. As with any profession, I’ve had good days and bad. I’ve enjoyed moments of unbridled enthusiasm, and I’ve been frustrated at times. Challenged, exhilarated, inspired. I’ve never been bored.