Education on the Wild Side
About the Book
The idea for this book originated from the encouragement of friends and acquaintances, as they heard stories of students' lives of poverty and malnutrition in environmental conditions of almost 200 inches of rain, temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, humidity in the 90s.
It is a book of stories, stories of students' lives, their hardships, joys, and unbelievable successes, narrated by a teacher who believed students' existence outside of the classroom was as important to educating them as the actual learning process. The strategies used to conquer unimaginable human struggles, health problems and near miraculous recoveries.
The richness of the culture in spite of hardships, or maybe because of them, comes through every page: the poetry, music, declamation contests, religious processions, sports, etc.
The author finds it essential to mention stories of the men who lived in these same conditions, the laughs and enjoyment of community living, the jokes they played on one another, their absolute commitment to better the lives of their boys; their health problems and sad departures.
These were the times of the Somoza dictatorship, maintained by money from the United States; and the informal supportive relationship of the Catholic church and the oppressive government.
It's an adventure story that a reader will want to read from start to finish without stopping.
About the Author
James Cunningham is a retired psychologist, a facilitator of cancer groups and domestic abuse groups, and a political activist. From 1950 to 2000 he had been involved in the field of education in various capacities: teacher, counselor, psychologist, administrator, and consultant. He has taught at every level from second grade to graduate school in six states and two foreign countries.
Education on the Wild Side is his first experience at writing a book, though he has written travel articles on China for county publications, and conducted workshops on classroom management. The book is autobiographical, and concerns his eight years as a missionary teacher on the East Coast of Nicaragua.
During these mature years of life he volunteers as a tutor in the local high school, writes inmates in prison, and supports people suffering from depression. Three to four hours each day are dedicated to writing.