As one fresh from the classroom where you have lived a sheltered life, pursuing ideals in freedom of thought, you are now brought into new surroundings of life. Situations will confront you that seem rough and uncouth, but nevertheless very human and real.
Does it jar on you a little? It should not, for instead of mixing with fellow-students in the classroom, you are now employed with men, many of whom from early years have been at manual work - life and its bumps, in their case, has been very real. But if they can meet life in its varying aspects, why should the man be nonplussed who comes from a good home, reared with care, and blessed with university attainments. Can you, with your accomplishments, sit with men where they sit? Can you enter and share in their thoughts and questionings? If not, then something is wrong in your own training and preparation for life.
Throughout the weeks that lie ahead you will experience drab days, but your whole relationship should be enriched by a real opportunity to study firsthand and observe men who are hand-minded and industrious. Feel proud that you are in a position to help and counsel men who have not shared in your privileges.
Always keep in mind the void that has pervaded the lives of these men, many of them your own age. They have been denied a whole lot. As a teacher, you can be refreshed mentally as you impart to others something of human values.
It has been said that, greater than all earth's woven creeds, is the eternal-possibility of man himself. Do not overlook the fact that the campmen, open-throated, hairy-breasted, have pushed their way, not infrequently, in the hard places. They have been tested by isolation, and although they do not express themselves in academic phrases, they have their own voice and do their own thinking. After all, keep in mind that these are they who have helped make this land. They dwell close to the earth and are kindred to it and the strong earth strengthens any man.
It is not easy to measure the place of a LabourerTeacher, but make the right approach in your efforts - give your best to the men!
Selected Frontier College Letters