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Stories of self (Veronica)

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Uh so when preparing for the story of self, Natalie asked us to think about why the EDLD or why education and I thought about it for a second why did I go to New York to teach or why did I go to Mexico on a Fulbright why did I come to EDLD program, and those are pretty easy questions to answer because I have been answering them for a long time. But a new question that has popped up recently is: why return home? Why think about the old district that I came from? Why talk about it so much so that everybody here knows all the facts about it. Um and that just brings me back to a lot of memories. It brings me back to a memory of walking down the street with my best friend and having to carry a big stick with us so that we could chase off the stray dogs that would try to attack us. And thinking and really wishing that we could live in a neighborhood that had sidewalks, and streetlights and a park that we could go to and a neighborhood pool. And wanting to get out as quickly as possible. And also remember returning home from living in Austin and being frustrated that there was only a McDonald's and a Walmart and taquerias for me to go to to eat at. Because I really just wanted a cute cafe that I could get really nice tea from and sit there with my laptop, um and I didn't have that at home, and it's funny because all of these things that were missing from home I have here now in Cambridge and it feels empty. I'm missing my people and missing my community. And I started to realized that these two things, my community and all the nice things that I would like, don't live in isolation. So my vision is to return home and to live in this kind of Pueblo Mexico that some of us may know exists in Mexico with a combination of culture and prosperity. And so how do I make that happen and why is that important to me is a question that I am answering right now. This is jeopardy, that was the soundtrack of my life. From five years old to seventeen, every single night, two sheets of loose-leaf paper, one crayon, one uncle, two grandparents, sudden death. Every night my grandparents and I had dinner at our kitchen table with bubbling pots of spaghetti and meat sauce, mac and cheese, meat loaf, cheese toast, oh, pancakes, everything, just talking about what did your day look like and what was school like and actually asking every night what do you want to be today? And when I was five I wanted to be a writer, and at seven I wanted to be a lawyer, and when I was eight I wanted to be an astrophysicist, nine a marine paleontologist, eleven I wanted to be a writer again. and at twelve I decided that maybe I wanted to do the same thing that my grandparents did to me, and ask people everyday what did they want to be. And I realized the perfect world that I thought I had wasn't really perfect at all. And that my grandparents had strategically structured that world to keep me away from the billowing smells of crack pipes. And that they asked me every day what I wanted to be because I came from a family where no one thought that they can be anything. And I was really committed to becoming everything and teaching others that they could be anything because you don't have to be bound by the conditions that you grow up with. So I really became an educator and I became someone who fights for rights and fights for the ideas of limitless because at 29, I still ask myself every day while I watch Jeopardy what I want to be today, and everyday it really is slightly different. And it makes me realize that the sky isn't the limit and the limit isn't the sky and if I want to go to the stratosphere I'm going there. So this year I've been really struggling with the idea of why I'm here and whether education is the place for me and what is the purpose of education is. And I'm thinking about why I care about children and their development. At the end of elementary school my parents moved me from one school district to another from a title one urban district to an affluent suburban district; from a classroom where I stood out as being the only person who wasn't black to being the only student who wasn't white. And in this transition I lost my sense of self and I gradually grew more and more quiet. And by junior high I became a selective mute, I didn't speak at school for two years, I spoke at home. And when I got to high school, my mom and I are like we have to do something about April's muteness, and so we enrolled me in the school's newspaper. And so over the four years I wrote about the race riots in downtown Cincinnati, about the Ohio graduation test, about the curriculum that my school was adopting, all of these stories that had to do with other people and with me, and in the course of writing these stories I had rediscovered my voice, first on the written page and then in actuality. Um a few years later I found myself as a teacher in the Mississippi Delta, and in the classroom I found myself torn between the idea of like literacy skills but also, like what is the point of teaching kids how to write words if they don't know what to write. And this came out really clearly in the personal writing narrative unit, because of course everyone likes to talk about themselves. But the idea, the kids really struggled. They made up big stories, they wrote up essays about statements, but they just did not know personal narrative. And so I came to this idea, I really want to invest my students with voice. And I think that's what I am struggling with, where does voice belong in education? And how do you navigate this idea between concrete skills like literacy or that ideal of oral story telling which makes it easier.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 56 seconds
Country: Andorra
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 16
Posted by: brianjhertz on Jul 7, 2015

Stories of self

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