Article: The Spanish Lesson I Never Got at School

[This is what I see in students every day — an erasure of their language, skills, history. As a white woman lauded for being bilingual, I preach the value of bilingualism to students I encounter but I’m one small voice against a tidal wave of policies, tweeted vitriol, and ignorance. Today students wrote notes to…

Honorary Dominican?

Walking to the bus stop with three kids last Thursday, the topic turned to who is more American and who is more Dominican. The three students were all born in the D.R. and have lived in the U.S. for about four years combined. “He’s not cold at all,” one girl pointed out about the boy,…

First Snow Day

The one-woman-snow-day-notification-machine has been put back into gear. Our first snow day of the 2015-2016 school year has arrived and with it, the family contact. “Hey Ms. I have a question for you. Is there school tomorrow because on the Boston public schools it says there is no school tomorrow?” texted a girl in my class….

Undocumented Minors

[Guillermo, profiled in the Atlantic article, and Maria, profiled in the Latino USA episode, both remind me of J (her story here, with an update here). Guillermo fled El Salvador almost exactly a year before J. Maria lives near Boston and went to J’s neighborhood to find a social security card when she needed to help…

“A boat?”

A few weeks ago a teacher I work with asked me to speak with a little girl in the elementary school. The teacher only speaks English, the little girl, J, only speaks Spanish but the teacher wanted to make sure she knew there was a field trip on Friday and to see about getting permission…

Bus Sounds

Disclaimer: While I listen to a ton of podcasts I do not know how to create one. No sound editing knowledge at all. But I grew up listening to the radio. In the car on the way to ballet class, while setting the table, while eating my morning cereal. I don’t have a radio but…

Books on the Bus

“It was boring.” “Your entire school day was boring?” I asked. I’d launched into a conversation with the seventh grader waiting next to me at the bus stop after his friends all got on a different bus and he was left standing alone, staring at the rain. “Yeah I took a nap during meditation.” He…

Ten Hours: Thank You Emails

[This is the third installment in a series I’m calling Ten Hours, about my trip with students to a college in upstate NY. These are a few moments of ten hours we spent on the bus that’ll hopefully give you a sense of the whole 36 hours we spent on the trip and about all the things…

Escuchando Musica en la Guagua

Today I rushed towards the bus, wending my way around strollers and shopping bags, in and out of the light April rain. As the bus pulled away from the curb, I looked up from putting my CharlieCard back in my wallet to see three seventh graders perched at the back of the bus. Partly because…

“Modi?”

After my students had settled into their seats and the school bus lurched out of the school parking lot, I set my teacher clipboard down and gazed around. Next to me were two of my Creole-speaking students, M and K, the only two still in the Sheltered English Immersion class. “Hi, ladies!” I said as I…

Video: A Conversation With My Black Son

[This video from the New York Times entitled A Conversation With My Black Son came out on March 17th, 2015 with this accompanying article. As a school we didn’t succeed in having this conversation with our students. There have been sporadic moments of helping students process the recent flashpoints of Ferguson, New York, etc., and systemic…