Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
During the early 2000s I taught Citizenship classes to people going through the lengthy, multi-part process of becoming Naturalized United States citizens. Lessons included basic U.S. history, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens, information featured on the list of 100 questions from which each candidate is asked up to ten, randomly selected. I also helped them practice interview-related English reading, writing, and speaking skills.
In the nine terms I taught the class, I served people from a number of countries in Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and Asia. I attended two swearing-in ceremonies at the local courthouse for students who successfully completed the process, and I will not forget the tears, joy, and celebration at those events, new citizens and families dressed in red, white, and blue, waving small American flags given them along with their Citizenship Certificates…
One question that inevitably surfaced during the classes and that always challenged me was: “Why do some Americans seem to hate this country so much?” Continue reading