Our school is near the Wilshire/Vermont Red line metro station. We always see people walking, going and coming from work, taking breaks at the local shops, homeless napping, vendors selling tamales in the morning and streets hot dogs in the afternoon, and religious groups passing out pamphlets at corners. Our neighborhood is an arrival spot for immigrants. All this diversity transfers to the school; we have about 927 students, with 2% African American, 2% unknown ethnicity, 10% Asian, and 86% Latino. It seem not very diverse with 86% Latino, but these students have different backgrounds; some students have indigenous roots, some are Afro-Latinos, and some Latino students have parents that are hybrids between Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans.
Malcom X said, "There is no better than adversity, every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time." Our students go through defeat, heartache and loss; they are middle schoolers seeing the world with new eyes.
They are becoming aware of their insecurities and their fears but learning how to be strong-willed.
One of the best things about the location of my school is being near a metro station. I like educating my students in riding it and being critical of the different LA patches. The students that usually get this experience is my advisory. I have an all boy advisory class. I have these students from 6th to 8th grade. Every year I take them to colleges that give us the opportunity to watch athletic games. We take the metro to the school, attend a College going fair, have a tour, eat at a dining hall, and watch the game, and take the metro back. Parents even though invited, prefer not to go, to be able to give money to their children for transportation and food.
In planning these trips I have realize the inequity that will always persist.
Other students start asking why can't they be invited. Even though it takes for a teacher to do a little research to obtain these free resources, it is unjust that it DEPENDS on a teacher to make that difference. Still I cannot take everyone, but I am opening the trip to all the 7th grade boy advisories. Students will need to be chosen through a raffle. And increasing the number of students means I cannot cover the costs on my own and will need chaperones to accompany me. I am asking for the chance to make a small difference become a bit greater. Inculcating a college culture comes at a cost for us. In my own middle school experience, I was lucky to have a teacher drive me out to visit colleges. So now I will continue to strive to do the same, give my students opportunities to have those college experiences.
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