Including the marginalized

Including the marginalized

Luke 5:27-32. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners

In the classroom, it’s definitely easier to favor the already intelligent and the dilligent; those who actively recite, submit high-quality learning outputs, and seek high-impact consultation sessions. Maybe my own bias can be expressed this way: why let my concern for non-performing students steal opportunities from those who seem to have more potential?

There’s something very gratifying in coaching motivated high-potential students, and maybe this was the feeling of Steve Kerr when he first coached the then-blooming Warriors in 2015. #StrengthInNumbers.

Yet, the Warriors system (inspired by the Spurs’ beautiful basketball that beat the Heatles in 2014) moved away from merely focusing on Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The system espoused ball movement, and Draymond Green said his initial puzzlement in a podcast hosted by JJ Redick: why move the ball around and reduce touches for the team stars?

Moving the ball around meant that even the non-stars got the opportunity to embrace their roles and earn their spots. It sparked energy to do good and embrace a sense of purpose beyond individual glory. With Curry being one of the most unselfish stars in basketball, the #StrengthInNumbers system allowed the Warriors to be a dynasty.

Why let my concern for non-performing students steal opportunities from those who seem to have more potential? Maybe this is precisely the vocation of a professor: to include the marginalized. To provide opportunities and light a fire in the unmotivated.

Perhaps in my frustrations, limitations, and immaturity, I fell to the trap of the “tyranny of the or”, preferring a certain segment over the other.

The message of lent is repentance, and God provides opportunities for lost sheep to seek Him. If I want to become like Christ as my Lourdesian education taught me, maybe I should embrace this mindset more. Provide opportunities, but do not spoonfeed.

In doing so, I pray that I can be more authentic in being a Lasallian educator: accompanying the least, the lost, and the last.


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