cstravato's Pre-k World

The life of a Teacher / Student / Mother


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My Hopes and Goals

 

 

My hope when I think about working with children and families of diverse backgrounds is that I will never stop learning and changing myself to better support children and families. I know real change must start with self-reflection and personal growth before I can truly affect others. I hope to never disrespect children or families of any background consciously or unconsciously. I hope to be a positive role model for my students on the importance of diversity, equity and social justice. I hope to remember all change in a positive direction big or small make a difference and I can an do make a difference everyday.

My goals for the field of Early Childhood is to better prepare future teachers and continue to train current teachers in the issues of diversity, equity, and social justice. Teachers have an enormous amount of influence on generations of children; we need to be aware of conscious and unconscious ways we are contributing to these issues. The field of Early Childhood should strive to provide teachers with more information about families and resources to properly understand different cultures and diverse group within their classroom.

Throughout this course my understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice have been strengthen through the readings, panel discussions, and personal stories from colleagues. I truly appreciate the personal stories, I found they had the greatest impact on me. The personal stories made me realize how many different aspects of diversity there really is and how much social injustice can affect children. Thank you for sharing you thoughts, feelings, and personal stories. I will continue to learn, grow, and change as I continue in my journey. I will hold onto these stories as constant reminders to never lose site of the issues of diversity, equity, and social justice.

 

Thank You All!


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Preparations to Better Support Immigrant Students

 

I chose to begin my preparation with Mexican immigrants since “more that 11.7 million Mexican immigrants reside in the U.S. accounting for 28 percent of the 42.4 million foreign-born population by far the largest immigrant origin in the county (Zong, 2016).” Being more aware of the populations that may make up my class it will give my students and me an advantage for a positive start in this up coming year. The more aware I am about the population of student in my class and the more I know about each, the better prepared I will be to communicate and collaborate with students and families.

The U.S. Bureau 2010-1014 census data shows a small population of Mexican immigrants reside in CT (Zong, 2016) where I teach. This data tells me Mexican immigrant students in my class may not have a strong support system in our school district.   I will be more aware to put an emphasis on school and community resources may be valuable information to share with my Mexican immigrant families.

The U.S. Bureau 2010-1014 census data shows, “Mexican immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English or speak it at home than the over all foreign-born population (Zong, 2016). This data tells me since I have a deficit of only knowing the English language I will need to be more aware of the possible language barriers for my students and their families. I will need to be vigilant in providing all materials in Spanish as well as English. This information also tells me all labels and information in the classroom should be in Spanish as well as English, to send the message that all students and families are welcomed and respected. Knowing that English may not be my students primary language I will be more aware of a need for visual teaching tools and reference materials for Spanish and English translations.

Knowing that “immigrant students and their families are challenged with the conflict of wanting to maintain and be proud of their heritage languages and cultures, and trying to fit in and even join the majority group (Zugel, 2012) I will be more aware of messages I consciously and unconsciously send to families. By including native languages as a regular part of my classroom I can begin to send the message all culture is valued in our classroom. I will also be more conscious to include literature representative of Mexican heritage and culture. Including dolls, foods, and other materials representative of Mexican culture can continue to send the message that everyone’s heritage and culture are important and should not vanish.

Knowing immigrant “students may lack the educational background often present in American students, they may enter school with much lower skills in math and language skills (Zugel, 2012) I will be more aware of a possible need for extra academic support at school and home. I offer families materials to support student learning at home and provide additional support at school as needed. Supporting a strong academic foundation early will support life long success and confidence.

The more I research the more I become aware of possible challenges for immigrant students and their families. Being an early education teacher I have one of the first opportunities to make a difference in all my students lives and educational journey. I need to take the time to get to know my students and their families to know how to truly support them to the best of my ability. I strive for a classroom void of micro-aggressions, bias, and prejudice. This can only be accomplished, by opening my eyes to all my students have to offer and the challenges they face.

 

 

 

Reference

Zong, J., Batalova, J. (2016). Mexican Immigrants in the U.S. On line Journal of

immigration Policy Institution.

www.migratonpolicy.org

Zugel, K. (2012). Cultural Challenges Faced by Mexican Immigrant Students.

University of Nevada.

www.eric.ed.gov

 

 

 


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An Unexpected Experience with Bias In My Classroom

In an effort to set up a classroom environment of diversity, I tried to be mindful of materials I included in each center. While setting up the home dramatic play center, I tried to be aware of including foods from various cultures, dolls of varying of races, family book depicting a variety of cultures and races, and so on. I thought I had done a good job of reducing any chance a student would feel invisible or oppressed. For the most part, I think I accomplished my goal.

However, one day I observed a play scene with a few children that concerned me. There are four dolls and four girls in the center at the time of the observation. Three of the girls had a baby doll and one was trying to pull a doll from another child. I asked the girls why they were upset, there was another baby doll in the crib. The two girls pulling on the one doll said they did not like that doll. The doll left in the crib was of Asian race, they had the Caucasian doll, the Hispanic doll, and the black doll. I asked the other two girls if they would trade and they said they did not want to play with that doll either. I was surprised at the response I received from the girls. This caused me to stop and reflect on what I was observing and hearing. I felt I had failed in my effort to model and create an environment of equity for all.

Our class was made up of primarily Caucasian students, one child who’s family is from Guyana, and one child who’s family is from Mexico, not great diversity within our population. Regardless of the limited diversity within the classroom, I try to teach and set up a classroom that supports diversity. This observation could be seen as a racial micro-aggression, in the sense the children did not what to play with that doll because of the race it represented. It could also be seen as children playing out what they are familiar with, the dolls that were being used did represent the diversity of the classroom at the time. It could also simply be that doll was not designed in a way that appealed as well to the children as the other dolls.

Regardless of what the original cause of this action was, I knew as a major role model in the classroom I needed to take action to support the positive growth and development of my students. So I first helped the two girls fighting over the one doll realize they could share the responsibly of taking care of the baby. They were able to work out which childcare roles each of them would take on. I choose to pretend the last baby in the crib was crying and need someone to take care of her. So I picked up the baby changed her diaper, dressed her, feed her, and talked to her. The girls were happy I joined their play and they helped me get things I needed to take care of the baby. Soon there was an incident in an other center that required my attention, so I asked the girl who was not holding a baby at that time to help me by watching over my baby while I was gone. She was happy to take over and help. I eventually made my way back and asked if she needed me to take the baby back. She said it was her baby now and she was making dinner for her. This made me feel like I had had a positive influence and our classroom was back on track being respectful and inclusive of all.

I could have chosen to ignore what I observed or dismissed it as nothing. However, my goal is to instill a sense of shared interconnectedness for all my students and all people they will meet throughout their lives. “Society needs to realize the suppression and oppression of one group oppresses me and my group as well (Laureate, 2011).” It is just as important for me to be positive role model for the diversity within my classroom as well as it is for the diversity outside my classroom.

 

Reference

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Microaggressions in everyday life [Video file]

Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. New York, NY: Wiley