Time to Reset: 1.19.21 (Post-Trump)

Google sites, Jan. 20, 2021

On January 19, 2021, I was excited to start the first day of my last graduate class. I spent the last week of 2020 with my children and husband, and we have grown closer during the pandemic. My boys are helping each other with AP Calculus and AP Physics; my college-age daughter who is stuck at home is bonding with her father; and we are enjoying home-cooked meals and desserts! We have settled comfortably into the rhythm of winter and pandemic life. I also felt a sense of peace when President Biden was elected as 46; I was tired of divisiveness tone of his predecessor and was afraid that if Trump had been re-elected that the Garden State would not be given sufficient doses of the COVID vaccines since it is not one of his beloved red states. I am happy to report that I received my first dose of Moderna on January 21, 2021. I had some muscle aches, a headache, and soreness on my right arm where the nurse Julibel (which is a combination of Julie-Abel) administered the shot.

As I reflect on my M.A. journey, I am amazed that time flew; the hardest part of this process for me was applying to graduate school. Applying to graduate was an agonizing part of the entire process. Change is difficult for me; I like routine and stability. However, once I was admitted to a suitable M.A. program, I was able to write. During this process of writing weekly blogs, I have evolved as a writer. I am more relaxed. I am more confident. I am enjoying free-writing since allows me to sort my thoughts and to reflect on important moments in my life.

In a couple of years, I will reread my blogs and recall important details of my life as a graduate student and a teacher during the pandemic. I will remember fondly my professors and my classmates, which were my source of stability during turbulent times. As for my M.A. Thesis, I have been thinking about education and equity as I am more aware of the educational inequities that exist in my classroom. I watch parents struggle to make online parent-teacher conferences. I only had five parents sign up for parent-teacher conferences; whereas, in my own children’s high school, all the spots were filled in five minutes. I also watched as some of the students struggle with internet connectivity. My students didn’t mind typing essays on the phones for several assignments as their laptops are being repaired by the one tech guy in our school; whereas, my children and other more privileged have their own laptops and do not depend on the school laptops. I also think of my one of my students who is living in India and trying to adjust to the differences in time zones. She tells me that some children without laptops and internet access in India haven’t in school since March 2020. At least students in America have access to an online education.

I am revisiting my Literature Review and reading more articles on education and equity. Presently, I am reading White Teachers / Diverse Classrooms, edited by Julie Landsman, and Chance W. Lewis.

(Google sites, Jan. 23, 2021)

In the beginning of the book, the editors share Paul C. Gorski’s poem “Becoming Joey,” where the speaker describes “an immigrant student’s search for his identity and his search for social acceptance.

Becoming Joey

José’s ten.
Looks six by size,
twenty in the eyes.

Down
the school-morning street
José ambles along
dotted lines of busses and cars
spitting exhaust like expletives.
They disturb his meditation,
a few final moments of peace.

José is frail but upright.
Smartly stitched hand-me-downs
hang from his slenderness.
Soles flop beneath battered shoes,
long worn but hanging on
if only by a lace.

José pauses in the schoolyard
where fairer kids laugh and scurry unaware
of this, his battle;
of this, his burden;
of these, his borderlands.
Behind him: cracked
sidewalks, frosted nights,
belonging.
Before him: playgrounds manicured,
classrooms heated against
some sorts of cold,
earnest lessons about a world
that doesn’t see him. 

Still José moves forward;
what feels in his stomach
a backward sort of forward.

Pausing in the doorway
José straightens his shirt,
trying to dust away
the stains of ancestry. 

Pausing in the doorway
José clears his throat,
trying to spit away
his alien voice.

Only then,
becoming Joey,
he crosses
into school.

— Paul C. Gorski

I love this poem since it poignantly captures my assimilation process along with so many other immigrant children. I plan to share this poem with my high school students. By reading this book, I hope that I am better equipped to reach all my students.

I am also in the process of creating a writing schedule. Dr. Zamora provided much needed advice during our first class; she said, “Make time to write.” Yes, I need to make time to write –perhaps just like making time to exercise. I have decided to write at night when the dinner is made, dishes washed, chores are done. I can unwind and write. I intend to have a draft of my article by my presentation date of Tuesday, March 8.

Recharged, and ready to go.

(Google sites, Jan. 22. 2021)

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