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.
Zong, J., Batalova, J. (2016). Mexican Immigrants in the U.S. On line Journal of
immigration Policy Institution.
Zugel, K. (2012). Cultural Challenges Faced by Mexican Immigrant Students.
University of Nevada.