Category Archives: Imagine-ing Teaching

Learning in question.

One of my first grade students got an iPhone for Christmas. Another student sitting at the same table does not always eat every meal each day. How can we expect to be able to teach our kids without a knowledge of the (seemingly simple) barriers to their learning and deep engagement? How can we deeply engage with(in) these contexts in order to facilitate bridges for these/all students? How do we provide equitable access despite these circumstances?

A section of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border at Imperial Beach, California.

El niño que no comió esta mañana.

La semana pasada, un niño me dijo,
—Me duele el estómago.
A él, dije,
—Hay tres razones posibles:
——–Uno, estás enfermo y necesitas ir a la enfermera ahora.
——–Dos, tienes hambre y necesitas comer algo.
——–Tres, estás nervioso o preocupado por algo.
—————-¿Que piensas?
Me dijo,
—Creo que tengo hambre. No comí nada esta mañana.
——–¿Puedo ir a la enfermera? Ella siempre tiene comida en su oficina.

La maestra dice que los niños necesitan desechar lo que no comen en el almuerzo.
Le dijo al niño que puede poner sus restos en su mochila
——–(cuando la maestra no está mirando).

The boy that did not eat this morning.

Last week, a boy told me,
“My stomach hurts.”
I said to him,
“There are three possible reasons:
——–One, you are sick and need to go to the nurse right away.
——–Two, you are hungry and need to eat something.
——–Three, you are nervous or worried about something.
—————-What do you think?”
He told me,
“I think that I am hungry. I did not eat anything this morning.
——–Can I go to the nurse? She always has food in her office.”

The teacher says the kids need to throw away what they don’t eat at lunch.
I tell the boy that he can put his leftovers in his backpack
——–(when the teacher is not looking).

Learning in snapshots.

Often, it is in simple moments and single interactions/exchanges with my students that I confront and confirm (to myself) the importance of the sacred work of public education (and my commitment to it). To explore my core commitments to this critical and challenging project, I am currently writing a collection of (hi)stories from my classroom and student teaching experience. The following is a bilingual story from the section titled, Cuentas de los niños morenos (Stories from/of the brown kids). I am not sure what lessons will emerge from these snapshots, but I do know that collecting them all into a common space forces me to look at and reflect on my classroom and students with a more nuanced vision. Some of the stories (continue to) weigh at my heart, and writing them seems to refresh my spirit a bit.

Little Girl With Yellow Dress
by Patssi Valdez, 1995

La niña que me rompe el corazón.
En mi clase, hay una niña.
Una niña amable y tranquila, que me rompe el corazón.
Ella es de México.
Vino aquí con su mamá, cuando tenía cuatro años.
Una noche,  ella se durmió en México.
Cuando se despertó, no estaba en México más.
——–Cuando se durmió en México, estaba con su hermano y su hermana.
——–Cuando se despertó en los Estados Unidos, sus hermanos no estaban con ella.
Una vez, la vi en el recreo, su pie en la pared del ladrillo.
Ella estaba llorando en secreto.
Le pregunte,
——–—¿Qué pasa?
Ella me dijo,
——–—Extraño a mis hermanos. Deseo que vinieran acá más pronto.
Ella ha estado esperando con paciencia por dos años.

The girl that breaks my heart.
In my class, there is a girl.
A nice and quiet girl, who breaks my heart.
She is from Mexico.
She came here with her mom, when she was four years old.
One night, she fell asleep in Mexico.
When she woke up, she was not in Mexico anymore.
——–When she went to sleep in Mexico, she was with her bother and her sister.
——–When she woke up in the United States, her brother and sister were not with her.
One time, I saw her at recess, standing on the brick wall.
She was crying in secret.
I asked her,
——–“What’s going on?”
She told me,
——–“I miss my brother and sister. I wish they would come here sooner.”
She has been waiting with patience for two years.