In the chapters that we had cover for this week were “Mexican Education” by Alexander Jimenez, “What I Wish I Had Said” by Anita Stratton, “How Could I Let this Happen? Dealing with 2nd graders and rape culture” by Zanovia Clark, and “Howling at the Ocean: Surviving my First Year Teaching” by Jaydra Johnson.
The first chapter, “Mexican Education” By Alexander Jimenez, was about The author’s experience with going to school in America after he had crossed the border from Mexico. In the chapter it talks about how when he got to school the teacher said that his name was too long and then shorten his name to Alex. Which is a problem within itself, it is not right under any circumstance to shorten your students name as a teacher you need to take the time to learn your students name and how to say it properly. The next thing in the chapter is about how he wanted to go to college and his mom wanted him to talk about how he went to “nothing to something” but in his eyes how he grew up is something. Then Jimenez talks about how he is still learning to thrive in a world where he is not wanted if his name is Alejandro. And he overall talks about what a Mexican Education is people will shorten your name and how you think it is going to be easier too, be surprised when you want to be successful and while doing that you would be surprised yourself, how you are better than the rest and you believe them, and how they will try to turn you against people that look like you and you let them.
The Second chapter, “What I Wish I Had Said” By Anita Startton. In this chapter Stratton talks about how she was picking up her students from music class and after the music teacher had said goodbye to all of the students one of the students personally told goodbye to the music teacher and the teacher had replied back with “Goodbye Bobblehead” and in that moment she had frozen and she had said nothing. And the student that the music teacher had said that to was Akash, who was a new student that just came from India only days ago. Stratton talks about how Akash mostly communicated to everyone by nodding his head from side to side. She talks about how she felt anger, sadness, and confusion. And she looked up what Akash would alway nod his head and she learned that it was a sign of respect and he would do that to show that he understood what they were telling him. And she was worried that confronting the music teacher about what she had said to akash would make her upset and make her get defensive. And when she finally did all the music teacher had to say was “Oh. Well, I just call him bobblehead.” And her tone was neutral as she said it. And even though she had said something she wished, she had said something more and all she wished that she had said was “His name is Akash.”
In the third chapter “How Could I Let this Happen? Dealing with 2nd graders and rape culture” by Zanovia Clark. It was about how a group 2nd grade boys corned a 2nd grade girl at recess and how the grabbed, groped, adn humped her and how they told her that they were goingt to have sex with her. And the mom who had sent the email explaining what the boys had done to her daughter and the mother wanted to know why wasn’t anyone watching the kids and how they were able to do this and no one saw anything. And as the teacher was reading this they could also feel the hurt that the mother was going through. Clark went to go and talk to the principal about the email that she had read and what should happen to the boys and throughout the conversation with the principal it showed that he wasn’t really listening and then said well talk to your colleague about how many recesses the boys should miss. And Clark was shocked by the lack of the response that she got from the principal. But we can relate this back to all of the rape cases that we see where the woman speaks out and and the boys get nothing but a slap on the wrist because the boy is a star athlete and nothing should happen to him to ruin that for him. And unfortunately, there and so many cases where this happens and the woman is left with no justice for what happened to her.
In the finally chapter that we had to read, it was about a first year teacher, Jaydra Johnson, in 2016 and this is when trump’s campaign of hate was beginning to start. And in this chapter she talk about how she went her first year of teaching being a white, anti-racist educator, in her 20’s, and in a predominantly white wealthy school. In the time of trump. One of the things that occurred while she was teaching would be when she would start to reach Jin Crow South, and the students would bring up “reverse racism” which would then to led to heated discussions in the classroom. And it was the mostly lively the classroom has been and Johnson thought she had done a good job with how the discussion went, until a student came back into the classroom with his friends to read to her what the definition of racism is to her. And they had went back and forth on the topic, and Johnson had gotten nowhere with Sam. And then after that conversation she gotten an email saying that the principal wanted to have a meeting with her. And it was to talk about how the principal had gotten an email from Sam’s dad and how the definition of racism lesson was harmful to his family, and after that Johnson handed over her lesson plan to the principal and she left the meeting grateful for the administrator’s support, but she was still shaken and felt uneasy. And she felt like she should step away from this lesson and it could be too much for an English classroom, but she continued on and there was some resistance, but for the most part she made it through. One of the ways that I think this relates to what is going in the world is by the things that we see on a day to day basis: police brutality, racism, racial profiling, etc. and how no one really want to talk about it or has their opinion on it and they’re set in their ways. But having teachers like Johnson who want to have open and difficult conversations about it and want to bring in into the classroom is a very important step to making these topics less intimidating to talk about. We can connect what Johnson did in her first year of teaching of how educators can talk about different hard topics and start the conversation, no matter what class that you teach you should be able to create a safe space for your students to discuss things in the classroom.