Hugo said something that I think is just awesome.
Most folks are familiar with the oft-repeated notion that school at any level is not the 'real world.' For years, I've held the opposite to be true. Indeed, I find the community college in particular to be a lot more 'real' an environment in which to teach and learn than most places. Where else will you regularly encounter such an extraordinary cross section of American society? A high-rise corporate office, filled with the well-groomed and the comfortable, is surely far less 'real' than a classroom filled with recent immigrants, recovering alcoholics looking for a thirty-ninth chance, ambitious high schoolers anxious to get ahead, and more than a dozen different native languages! If what we mean by the 'real world' is a place where one encounters an authentic representation of who populates this country, I'm not clear that many places are more 'real' than an urban community college!
Absolutely brilliant. The single biggest cultural difference between UIC and Notre Dame has been the overwhelming whiteness of the latter. The one night I week I drive down to the community college to teach my math class is like a breath of fresh air -- yes, there is actual diversity in northeast Indiana!