I WROTE THIS HUGE POST AND SOMEHOW IT GOT COMPLETELY ERASED!!!!!!
But you know what? That’s okay. Because I’ve saved YOU, my reader, from reading my processing and I’ll just give you the nuggets of wisdom I just gleaned.
I cried at school this morning and basically, I think I cry when I’m frustrated by how self-centered my kids are.. especially since we’re in March and the classroom is still so disparate and lacks community Especially when I compare how much wealth this school has in comparison to my school in Oakland, I just start to feel icky…. and disgusted by them. (Plus.. they’re LITTLE kids.)
Some kids did come to me to apologize (and one girl said, “I think you need a hug”) … and I just drily told them, “4th and 5th grade is the awkward year where you don’t just say you’re sorry, you show it.”
However, I can’t continue in this vein. I can’t control them by snapping at them or by fear. It’s not right. I think it was really hard to overcome the coldness I felt though.
But ultimately, I can’t CHANGE them. I can only change ME. And my attitude. And even though I don’t really know how to make this right, I know I have to try. (Even though for some of the kids, my extension of a white flag is what I “should do” since I’m a teacher and “it’s my job.”)
So then, I wrote a list – 25 things – one to each child – where I let them know what I appreciate… and that brought me to the fact that
They’re trying. Regardless of how emotionally stunted I think they are in comparison to where they should/could be… they are in their different ways.
So.. the end. Tomorrow is a new day. I will try again.
This is a blog I wanted to write on Saturday. Unfortunately, I split my hand open (never use Wusthof while discussing the inauguration) and went to the ER instead.
For TLDR folks, you can skim down – to the purple part.
So, I grew up in CA. To be specific, I grew up in many parts of California – from LA to the Central Coast to the Silicon Valley, and now I live in the East Bay. I find it mildly amusing that given how in high school, I was the “conservative one” (comes from a typical Asian-religious family upbringing), so many of my current peers consider me as someone with more of a “liberal bend.”
I benefited from a rich, liberal education in Palo Alto. I loved it! Well, middle school, of course, sucked (I moved in 7th grade and had to deal with kids who were dealing with their own personal demons… I guess I just was an easy target?)… but high school allowed me to branch out with different interests and I’m still super fond of my memories and friendships from there. Honestly, where else would a poor pastor’s kid get to try rich kid sports in a fancy pool, blow glass, study film, and do labs of the same caliber as an intro college class? Also, Paly let me have a diverse (read: not Asian-only) group of friends.
In college, God saved me. I always knew of the hypocrisy of the church, and in my own blindness, I sought to melt into a large congregation so that I could “do my duty.” Through people that He placed in my life and through the Bible, the clarity of what it means to be a Christian (trusting in Jesus Christ’s finished work when he died for my sins and resurrected — not in any of my own actions or my own thoughts of who He is) … finally became clear. And in His mercy, I came to learn the beauty of the word, submission. Of course, I learned other things too — but that’s my favorite part about college.
In graduate school, I finally realized how “minority” I was. I began to be able to put vocabulary to elementary playground experiences. And, the Internet had evolved to the point where I saw firsthand black and brown men being killed for being loud rather than docile.
When I began working, I began to learn what people might mean by “school to prison pipelines.” How segregation still occurred via zipcodes and high school “accelerated tracks.” I answered questions that I didn’t even know were allowed when I was a kid… questions like, “Why don’t they mention Korea in Asian history?” or “Where is Asia-America within US history?” or even “Wait, am I black or white?” because growing up, during that weekend where we talked about Martin Luther King, there was no other.
That’s me. What else is me?
I’m a teacher. In the last 5 years of my life, I’ve worked with groups that I think may have more of a need for me than groups who have access.
I’m a reader. I love books and blogs and news. Never grew up watching TV. I love satire, I love wit, I love intelligent reasoning, I love pathos. I graduated from college, so now I have time to read whatever I want. (I think while I was in college, I only read books of choice between June and August… oh wait, except for when the final Harry Potter book came out and the Twilight series. Don’t discount this blog post because of this confession).
I support public radio. Grew up with KQED programming on TV (if we were allowed). NPR is my jam. I just discovered KPFA (more local-er news).
I am Korean-American who grew up in a rural town. This means that as a kid, I knew what it meant to be a victim of childish racism. This means that I know what it felt like to receive only one version of history. This means I thought I was white but was the unattractive, flat-nosed, “chingchangchong” oriental on the playground.
I am a Bible-believing Christian. I believe that the Bible has truths that transcend our current social lenses. I believe that as a created being, my God, the creator, knows more about who I am than I can on my own. I can go into the logic behind this — but that would derail. I only include this because it’s a huge part of …
Why I did not participate in the Women’s March.
Why I did not participate in the Women’s March.
Minor Personal Reason 1: I don’t know what we’re protesting. Protesting a man makes no sense to me. Protesting the voting system also makes no sense to me. Historically, marches and protests were in tandem with asking for something specific, and then also using the provisions in place (which I don’t deny people are doing – with the internet, it’s so easy!). I did not vote for DT. Seeing him makes me cringe. But who a person is isn’t his policy (although…. listening to the confirmation hearings… okay, won’t go there). I think he’s just the first president we’ve had where we can actually see who he is. I realized, MOST presidents have decorum. Until now, it was almost a given that you had to have a good facade to be president. This man is ridiculous. But quoting Aziz Ansari, “Change doesn’t come from presidents.” We
Minor Personal Reason 2: The Popular Vote vs. Electoral Vote issue. Okay, I get that lots of people feel angry/annoyed that their vote “didn’t count,” and I also get how there are different views on why/how the electoral college was created. I think what people in large cities are ignoring is the fact that if the popular vote was the only thing around, our country would be driven by policies favored by urban areas. Major Cities-driven politics is one very likely cause of why people rallied to DT. Sure, gerrymandering may have something to do with it — but how many of us have actually paid attention to working-class folks prior to 2015/16? I know at least at HGSE, everyone’s all up in urban education – ain’t no one setting a foot into rural ed. So yeah, I don’t agree with the “2 million strong” thing either. It would suck if counties of SF, NYC, Denver, and LA were driving politics for the whole nation, no? Even if they had more people? Groupthink is real.
Aside: Here are the older links regarding the county votes:
Major Political Reason: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights is misleading. As a young, female teacher of Asian descent, I agree that women deserve the same rights as anybody else and that we get to make decisions about our bodies.
But, you know, given education? … you don’t get a free pass for irresponsibility especially if that free pass includes, you know, killing a person. No thank you.
Why am I claiming that it’s irresponsibility (and dare I say, selfishness?)
A very teeny number of abortions are due to rape or incest or health of the mother. The last actual percent fact I could find on the Internet was from 1989, so I’m ignoring that… but I did go to the CDC site (to check how many are done by kids <19) and AGI (reasons for abortion) to confirm that anywhere from 75%-95% of abortions are due to personal choice, or “a woman’s right to choose.” What was super interesting is how people aren’t asking about the rape/incest cases after the ’90s. My conspiracy theory? It’s because we don’t want to know / acknowledge that the “must” situations don’t actually exist.
By the time we realize they exist, they’re a mini-human. At this point, we know that an egg is an egg, and a sperm is a sperm. When they come together, they actually make a little fetus. A fetus that, by 8 weeks has fully functioning organs. They react to painful stimuli at 24-26 weeks (jury’s still out on whether they fully “understand” that it’s pain though). They’re genetic makeup is completely their own. And, the earliest preemie ever to be born was at 22 weeks (rounded up).. you can abort a kid at 24!.
I teach kids. A lot of them are unwanted by society – I know this because of the reluctance to spend money on them, the reluctance to look at research to see what’s best for them, and you know, how a lot of them are being killed.
I don’t know where you would draw the line on “This is where I stop advocating for unwanted people without a voice.” Is it when they graduate from your class? Is it when they drop out? Is it when they’re “only in kinder” (nevermind that their brains are probably way spongier than when I actually get them). Do I not advocate for them because they can’t speak words? Because they’re small? Is it because they’re in the womb? Is it because it’s 3 days before they have all their complete organs? Is it when they’re only a “blob of cells” (nevermind that if you give it a few weeks, it changes?).
I mean, is it only if it will affect me and my life that we’ll advocate for them? People are now advocating for Bumblebees. A bumblebee is smaller than an 8-week old fetus and is less complex. Come on now! (PS: Also, I think people are substantially more important than animals – God made them in His image. Yup! I believe that! Obvi, this doesn’t mean abuse the earth – y’all know this girl is green.)
Again, choice, to me, sounds like, “If you’re wanted, you live; if you’re unwanted or , you die.”
I think it’s SO interesting to me to hear my friends argue in favor of IDEA and working SUPER hard to make sure that all of our students get their plans and have their needs met, when the hidden elephant in the room is that in 5-10 years, as technology increases and as we clamor for abortive rights …. we probably won’t even have children with special needs because they’ll probably be aborted if found with an issue. Just google that – it’s no secret. (we might also lose females and minorities – because given world-trends, they’re the main victims of infanticide anyway).
I feel like our solutions are ultimately, not out of a care for people, but out of what holds most utility. This is why we have a tendency to overdrug kids rather than offering support in the form of people and time. This is why the way we care for our veterans is so horrible — all the “new” innovations to help people overcome PTSD by engaging with other people is not new. It’s just time consuming. Back to abortion – I know, it’s easier to terminate a pregnancy rather than deal, as a society, with unwanted children or low-income families. But imagine if we spent all our time and money on that rather than on killing.
Planned Parenthood? Please. This is a HUGE money-making industry. Out of every 8 people they serve, 1 gets an abortion (in addition to their other services). They count abortion (with its cost) as equal to giving someone a pregnancy test. That 3% number is a myth… and this was where I got SUPER disappointed in the reporters I follow… how they are willing to get into the nitty-gritty of other facts, but not into this area. They know better – it will tank their careers because PP has a huge lobbying group.
Anyway, at the end of the day, we have science – we can see the craziest 3-D ultrasounds ever. Doctors have been prolonging life and saving life in times and places that our grandparents never even dreamed of. So, this issue? Is mainly an issue of “my body mine” without concern about the risk you take.
How does your body make a baby? Sex. There is a risk involved. There are also PLENTY of ways to mitigate that risk. If it doesn’t work out – don’t just kill the baby because it’s smaller than you or an unwanted responsibility.
Lastly, I don’t need to hear from people telling me to then put money into safe-sex programs because that is not the only other solution. There are SO many things that affect this issue… and also, it’s again, really condescending, to assume that I’m not.
PS. I did not know of any of the “exclusion” things that happened with the march until a few days later… I’m trying to sort of.. pause on my news intake until they calm things down over at the white house. smh…. just saying this isn’t a response to that.
I don’t normally plug my grad program. I’m ambivalent about the stances they take and the directions their churned out alumni run towards. BUT I’m REALLY thankful for the research I got to dip into AND the classmates. Even people (like the two below), with whom I’ve only had very brief encounters with (well, I guess with M, it wasn’t brief since we ended up driving across the continental states together), because we bonded over shared ideas, I CAN STILL HIT THEM UP NOW!!!!
Anyway, I love the resources that spill out of this convo. I feel like they’re pretty rare too. SO, if you’re interested in bringing in relevant and thoughtful resources surrounding native history in the US, look through this convo!
Hey ladies – just took over a 4/5th combo class. They haven’t started US history yet. We’re starting by looking at regions and I’m doing a slapdash job of it.
If you guys have references for how to do due justice to native history (upper elementary reading level) pre-Columbian.. I would totally be grateful.
I think the key would be to connect the narrative of history to the narrative of today (i.e. native people are still alive – funny how often that isn’t taught lol expose them to the traditions but also modern day native authors, music (tribe called red), art (Steven paul judd) – some well known ones
I’m trying to teach it as waves of immigration but yeah – THIS is what I need like – names / people to look into
do you follow adrienne keene’s blog native appropriations? there’d be some good resources there, too
Article VI The constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in th…
Native American Girls Describe the REAL History Behind Thanksgiving | Teen Vogue
6 Native American girls school us on the REAL history of Thanksgiving. Still haven’t subscribed to Teen Vogue on YouTube? ►► http://bit.ly/tvyoutubesub CONNE…
Naelyn Pike, Danny Grassrope, Bobbi Jean – all young native activists I met at a recent summit, Naelyn is still in HS – could be cool for her to FB live or skype into your class she’s awesome! you couod prob google some of her videos
Also I would check out the stanford history education group’s “reading like a historian curriculum” — it is a teaching framework for getting kids to use “historical thinking skills” and simulate historian’s practices — namely using primary sources to view history as the construction of narrative. they have a lesson on the battle of little bighorn that is GREAT
U.S. History Lessons | Stanford History Education Group
The United States Reading Like a Historian curriculum includes 71 stand-alone lessons organized within 11 units. These lessons span colonial to Cold War America and cover a range of political, social, economic, and cultural topics. Each lesson includes a 1-2 day plan that outlines the lesson’s activ…
Thanks to the Disney film, most students know the legend of Pocahontas. But is the story told in the 1995 movie accurate? In this lesson, students use evidence to explore whether Pocahontas actually saved John Smith’s life and practice the ability to source, corroborate, and contextualize historical…
yes 1491s for sure you might be able to find some that are approps
It is November 17, 2016. And tomorrow, on Friday, November 18,2016, I’ll be walking into a neighboring district’s HR office and signing the paperwork to be a teacher for a 4/5th grade combo classroom.
It’s interesting. I feel positive about starting at this new place because the adults seem great and the kids are sweet and diverse. I’ll also get to teach all the subjects (except science, which is my weakest area anyway), and I’ll get to really have some autonomy since I’ll be in my own self-contained room. Lastly, the school itself is just lovely. It’s been the smallest school in Berkeley for the past 100 years and it smells woodsy and fresh.
I think the difficulties of the job (combination, coming in mid-year, first time in elementary) actually will provide me ways to really test my theories regarding classroom management, organization, and ultimately, pedagogy.
Things I’m excited to return to:
Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral Development
developing classroom ownership
Things I’m excited to expand on:
thoughtful blended learning roll out in math
Things that are new, but I’m excited for…
Morning Meetings (a la Responsive Classroom)
Guided Reading / Reader’s Workshops
Calkins-esque Writer’s Workshops
having LESS instructional time and MORE enrichment
It has been a strange school year. I’ve taught straight, from 2012-2016 without taking summer breaks. Then, this past year, I took my first summer break (which was AMAZING — new teachers should try it! I think I found the key to sustainability!). And yet, instead of moving, I ended up staying.
It was definitely a drift-y period, and even now, I need to remind myself not just the generic “God is in control”, but speak to my soul: Yes, my God is sovereign. Yes, He knows my desires. Yes, He knows every minute detail of my heart. Yes, there are ways I can glorify Him and ways that can throw all this in His face. At the end of the day, even though I have been whining, I don’t want to get into a habit of complaint. After all, this was in His timing, and how can I know all the workings of an infinite mind?
You knew me before I was in the womb. You crafted me with your hands and placed me in this world with a head full of hair and questions. You told me that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. In Your mercy, You took this selfish, helpless baby and gave me the many experiences that helped shape me into who I am today. Then in college.. in Berkeley of all places, You helped me see that I was selfish and helpless and that sin wasn’t an offensive judgment but a practical description of a gal who loved her ways above Yours.
Then You breathed life into my stone-heart and showed me what love is — the love that a righteous Father has for His perfect Son and the love that was willing to sacrifice the very same Son for souls that reject You.
I used to be calculative. After moving through 5 schools and observing society’s dynamics, I learned to toughen my skin, get to the jokes first, be funny and be sharp. Relationships were two-way streets and I wanted to make sure the opportunity costs were worth it. Utility.
Who would have thought that I could care for others? Who would have thought that a memory like mine – that held grudges and remembered offenses and sought fairness – now could hold names and remember others’ hurts and desire their good?
You let me see and experience so much. Yet, at the end of the day though, what is any of this if this does not bring glory to You? What is a life full of what the world may praise.. what the world may call daring.. what the world may admire… if the spotlight doesn’t bounce right off me and right back to You?
I want to trust and obey. I want to walk with You. And it’s always been in me to sacrifice – it’s easier than obedience. Submission feels antiquated, and yet You’re so frank in that fifth command.
There are faces of boys I will never see.
And my heart aches because I don’t know if I will see them on the other side of eternity either.
Yet I know my being there wouldn’t have brought that about.
That’s in Your sovereignty.
For now, I can give You glory by honoring my parents.
Then I read the letter. Then I watched the video. Then I wondered about it means to “appropriate.” Then I thought a lot of things. I’m going to try to walk you through my thoughts because my ultimate point isn’t to point to hypocrisy or to even assume it was intentional, but to perhaps make connections between trends that both I see and others seem to be uncovering.
[[Ten Second Word Association Break: APPROPRIATION: Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Blackface, Kimmy Schmidt Season 2, Oriental, Blackish, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Tiger Lily, Halloween, Awkward Black Girl]]
I’ve been listening to a lot of Hamilton and I just super admire Miranda’s choice to use minorities to represent the US “immigrant/minority”-founding fathers because it’s true – even though our founding fathers were white, the point is that their status was that of what an immigrant minority might be today. (I also love how he uses rap as the “new” language and traditional, harpsichord, musical-y singing for the British king.)
Rough US history that’s more or less accurate-ish (notice how noncommittal this title is)
Back then, the British looked down on the colonists.
Then the British-heritage Americans looked down on immigrants from other nations.
Then the white Americans looked down on black and brown Americans
Maybe now that Black/brown people have more of a voice, they look down on the yellow?
Is this intentional? I don’t think so. But perhaps it’s a lesson about sensitivity.
A friend of mine was saying how the racist Red Cross posters that were trending yesterday seemed blown out of proportion. I looked at it today, and I see it. Maybe because I study this. And I do believe that there are certain defaults that people do because of our history, our schooling, and our unconscious biases.
I think we notice things that are dear to us. And I guess up to this point, most people would agree. Then we’d split into the “It wasn’t malicious, move on!”-Camp or the “Blow the whistle and change!”-Camp.
And maybe because Asian people aren’t loud about offenses, because of the fact that we’re used to the way we’re portrayed, that it has been a “non-factor”. Or maybe because of the desire to “unite” and support other minorities, we turned a blind eye to the racism thrust at us. (For example, I was never comfortable with how this Chinese girl was treated when she shared an anecdote of experiencing racism from a black person, but I felt that maybe it would distract from the rallying cause of blacks, and maybe it’s better to just wait…)
[[ Aside: This year, at one of my schools, one girl (who also just had many other issues), kept swearing at me (3 times) and referring to me as “Chinita.” I asked for a conflict-res conversation , andwhen the adult who was supposed to moderate this for me came to “prep” me, he mainly explained how in latino culture, it’s normal to call Asians “Chinita” and that no offense was meant by it. Then in our conversation, it was about how this girl “hurt my feelings” until I veered the conversation towards community and the message that it sends to other people when you call someone a “chinita.” I mean honestly – I didn’t want a conflict-resolution because my feelings were hurt – it just shouldn’t be a non-issue that the one Asian teacher is being called this!]]
Okay, the point isn’t to point out grievances against Asians. Nor is it to point out how other minorities are also racist, because let’s be real – even WITHIN races and ethnicities, there are prejudiced factions. I guess it’s that.. if I assume positive intent (hur hur), the learning for communities may be that many times, the more powerful group doesn’t intend racism – so we don’t need to jump down their throats when they make mistakes, and we should be patient, because… the same mistakes will probably happen again… and there are many ways to get your way – so think about how you want to go about getting it.
This doesn’t mean you have to just let it go by. But perhaps it means being more gracious when you do point it out. [[Here is where I erased a few pointed/snappish remarks. I don’t think they translate well into type but you can hear it from me in person if you’d like]].
[[Final Aside:// This reminded me of a sermon my pastor preached a few weeks back in Ephesians 2:11-13. K, I know the verses seem super random and hard to get and the sermon itself is a 78-minute doozy, but let me briefly explain the context. As Paul writes this letter, he’s reminding the people of Ephesus, the Gentiles (aka non-Jews) about their background. This piece here also serves as a huge reminder of how basically, in one generation, the gap between the Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles/goyiim) – one that has historically been preserved since Israel was a nation and has definitely been hostile – was bridged by the gospel… and I think that’s what’s super interesting about a truly biblical church. You go in and the commonality isn’t in ethnicity, socio-economic status, or whatnot, but it’s in the commonality of Christ.]]
Basically… people! Understand that you might be oppressed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also be an oppressor. So, Be. Gracious. And… if need be, admit that you’re wrong. I promise, it won’t make you look weak or lose ground.
(But then ultimately, what change can there be until our hearts are changed?)
At one of my schools, teachers need to fill out an “End of Year” form so that their future teachers can get a quick snapshot of the varying degrees of needs in the classrooms.
As I began filling out information for the 6th and 7th graders, and then reading last year’s notes, I just got all teary, because it feels like that scene in the movies where the little boy has to give away his dog, so he writes this letter about the things his dog likes and then asks the future owner to take good care of this dog… and there’s an idyllic country tune playing in the background and the boy noisily wipes his running nose and eyes.
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN????
It’s hard to leave for something else. I had the first part of 6th grade conferences today and it felt so premature for me to leave while letting them know that my co-teacher was staying. I know I’ll feel differently later, but for now, I’m just feeling a little sad. Also, there’s these LITTLE notes I want to give. Like, not ONLY should Jane not sit with Joe but Joe does really well with Bob on these occasions but not those. Also, texting works better for Susie’s mom while for Curly, make sure you start contact and conversation early.
But then, it’s like, once you give away your dog, you’re not the owner anymore. The new owner might graciously ask you a few questions but once she changes his name from Fido to Fluffy, you don’t really have a say. In 2 days, I will no longer have a say.