Last night I had my students debate the pros and cons of CAFTA. They groaned at first. Some don't like political topics. Others are sick of talking about CAFTA. But it's one of the hottest issues in Costa Rican at the moment, so I felt it was important to bring it up in class. Plus, I wanted to hear what they had to say about it.
The debate went fine, but the best part was the discussion afterwards. We started talking about the socioeconomic status of Costa Ricans, and how that affects their attitudes. There's a large lower class, especially outside of the central valley, that depends on government assistance. But there's also a growing middle class that could take advantage of the jobs that would come from a free trade agreement.
My students used themselves as examples. Each of them explained how they'd grown up on some level below middle class. They didn't all live in poverty, but they certainly weren't given the advantage of wealth. And now, here they are: well-educated, bilingual, and employed in very good jobs. They see the opportunities that are open to them. They speak of plans to get more education, to climb to higher positions in their companies, and to someday own their own businesses.
By the end of the night, I was so proud of them I could've burst. They have such amazing attitudes. I know they're going to succeed. They're an inspiration to me.
Labels: costa rica, teaching