Final Teaching Reflection

It’s the last day of school. I sent my students videos as a goodbye, making sure to place my bi pride flag and women of Wakanda poster in the background. Even though I won’t be going back to that school, I wanted to remind my students what I stand for–inside and outside of the classroom.

At this moment, I don’t have much positive to say about the education system. I’ve felt isolated and crushed over the past year as a teacher trying to connect my students to the land they live on, the places they come from, and what the world could be. I’ve been fighting a system of erasure at every step, and I’ve felt it. I believe in education as a tool now more than ever. But my hope in reform for education–as low as it was before–has all but vanished.

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Teaching Reflection: Weeks 26/27

Teaching is traumatizing. The weight of everything has given me anxiety that has me crawling out of my skin before I have to go to work, made me vomit, and unable to function. We had a parent-teacher conference day this week, which meant no students at work. I felt so light getting up and at work, and actually got to leave my building for lunch. I had energy after work. It reminded me that this is an abnormal situation. A job is work, and so it’s not always going to be fun or enjoyable. But this is different.

At the same time, I love my students. I’ve seen so much progress and I’ve developed such rich relationships with them. A random student came in to my class today and started trolling me about the Flyers loss. One of my 6th graders asked a question basically about translanguaging. I explained it to them with an example sentence (Je vais to la escuela), and they lit up (especially my Spanish-speaking kids)! In the past, I’ve told my Filipino Tagalog-speaking students can use their language in taking notes, and they were so excited. We’ve had discussions about race and racism in talking about the coronavirus, and the kids with the loudest voices have some of the best takes.

Idk. I’m just trying to process it all.

Teaching Reflection: Week 22

  1. Culturally responsive teaching: I introduced family language in French using Black Panther and my predominantly Black 8th grade class LOVED it. I used a clip from the movie (dubbed in French), and they were so excited to talk about it. They did groan at first about not being able to watch in English, of course. I had a lot of fun teaching those lessons. And that class did better overall on the quiz than my other 8th graders! #blackfutures
  2. Building relationships: I had a student stay after for help with his homework, which became a therapy session in the end. He didn’t ask for advice or anything, he just talked about what was going on in his life. As he was leaving, he noted how much he had talked and how it had been nice for someone to listen.

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Teaching Reflection: Week 11

    1. Decolonial pedagogy: We’ve been talking about Canadian residential schools in my 8th grade classes and the students have been a lot more interested and reactionary than I thought they would. Curiosity, anger, questions about whether it happened in the U.S. Assimilation and contemporary connections to immigration. This all engaged students who I never would’ve thought would care.
    2. Pre-made second language critical lesson plans: SO THANKFUL to all the people who have created critical lesson plans (especially the ones I found in French). Lesson-planning is already so much work. So those who are doing that critical work–especially in languages other than English–PLEASE KEEP DOING IT (and make your materials accessible online). I want to at some point put my own lessons online, after I have time to revise them and provide detailed instructions.

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Teaching Reflection: Week 4

    1. Questioning the binary/LGBTQ+ pedagogy: Pronouns. Like I’m eyeing the possibly queer (sexuality/gender) kids in my classes and the way they react when I blow up the binary. Also finding out kids who do not visually appear gender non-conforming may be/may be questioning their assigned gender. And all this from a short worksheet. No complex discussions, no debates. Just checkboxes for what pronouns they wanna go by.
    2. Current events: 6th graders watch the news. Not all of them but a lot of them. Children know what’s going on and they care.
    3. Current events & being culturally relevant: Some kids care about Antonio Brown. Some kids really want Fiji to win the rugby world cup, and are mad at how countries (USA, UK, France, etc.) can rig these types of competitions by stealing players away from their home countries. Some kids wanna rant about how the world is fucked by climate change. But you don’t know any of that if you don’t bring those topics into class, or allow for those discussions.
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