Posts Tagged ‘teasing’

Becoming Joey

I was reading today and came across a poem that really caught my attention. I thought it was worth sharing since I’ve been on my writing so much about diversity this week…

Becoming Joey
By Paul. C Gorski

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

Down
the school-morning street
he ambles along
dotted lines of busses and cars
that spit exhaust like expletives,
disturbing his meditation
on a few final moments of peace.

He is frail but upright.
Hand-me-downs hang from his slenderness,
patched and stained.
Soles flop beneath battered shoes,
worn through but hanging on,
if only by lace.

He pauses in the schoolyard
where white kids laugh and scurry
unaware of this, his battle;
of this, his burden; of this, his borderlands.
Behind him; cracked sidewalks
and frosty nights
sweetened by the warmth of belonging.
Before him: manicured playgrounds,
heated classrooms,
and enthusiastic lessons about a world
that doesn’t see him.

Still he moves forward,
what feels in his stomach
A regressive sort of forward.
And he straightens his shirt,
tries dusting off the stains of ancestry.
And he clears his throat,
tries spitting out his Mexican voice.
And, becoming Joey, he crosses into school.

 

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America’s Children Potential

My number one reason why I want to be a teacher is because I love kids. Absolutely, genuinely, whole heartedly love them. But there are other reasons of course. One major one is that I believe in order to produce education that is going to contribute to our society and democracy later, we must teach tolerance, love, and cultural acceptance at a young age. Intolerance and fear iswhat caused our country set backs in the past that are unfortunately still here today.

Instead of Anglo Saxon Americans just admitting that they had superior power in the past over the Black Americans for example, we had to make evidence up that we were a superior race. (Anglos’ skulls measured larger than blacks…must mean they are dumber? Come on. Race is completely man made.) All of a sudden the belief was that Blacks were an inferior race, therefore that was reason to enslave them. We couldn’t just admit that we had power, authority and the need for human labor…we had to make them lower than us. So what happened then after the slaves were free? Prejudice. Then it didn’t stop at Blacks; Americans wanted to assimilate and conform the Natives who were “savages,” then we put a ban on Asian immigrants because they were inferior. This prejudice applies to everything…or I should say, everyone. Some how we have become a country that believes one can be superior than another. Straights are better than gays. Men are better than women. The rich are better than the poor.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am so not bashing America. I love my country. We are a country that has good, very good, intentions. We promote freedom and have given everyone in the world the opportunity to pursue their dreams. We have so much to offer and we contribute to the rest of the world. I am a proud American, but that doesn’t change the past. The past is something to be shameful about, however we cannot undue the past…just move ahead and do better for the future.

Because of our past, our present is filled with prejudice, racism, intolerance, inequality, hate, and fear. This is no way for our children to grow up. It’s in our hands to fix the future. This doesn’t just apply to teachers, but to everyone…aunts, uncles, moms, dads, grandparents…we need to teach the kids of today to grow up open minded, tolerant, loving and compassionate.

Why? Why not? Children are constantly teased for being different, whether it is of their race, ethnicity, culture, weight, height, voice, opinions, dress, sexual orientation, social class…the list goes on and on. Why not stop the teasing in it’s tracks? Kids will be kids and teasing will never die, but could we at least try to teach our kids the concept of acceptance? Some people may say this is just a right of passage and that all children go through it however, there are teenagers committing suicide daily because of bullying, fear, depression from societal expectations, and rejection from peers.

I hope being an educator I can promote a classroom that is safe, loving, and open minded where I can have my students appreciate each other and welcome each other’s differences. I just wish these teachings and attitudes could go further than the classroom and reach the streets, homes, and lives of all children.