"Ching chong ching chong ching" is what I heard one of my Latino English learners saying to my Asian instructional aide as I was walking through class one day. I teach English at a low income designated school in Southern California.
I teach at the sophomore level, which is supposed to be World Literature; however, the only works that we have for the students to study are European. The students are getting a narrow perspective of the world. This is a problem because there is rampant racism in my school towards people of other ethnicity's (most of my students are Latino), especially towards Asians.
I want my students to become more of a world community. I became an English teacher in order to empower youth, so they may change the world around them. Many of my students are discriminated against, but they are just as willing to be racist towards somebody else. I want my students to be able to see the similarities between them and other teens and to be able to celebrate their differences. If they can get beyond their differences, they can make real changes in the world. One way to do that is to be exposed to different viewpoints. I would like to read the book, "Chinese Cinderella," in my classroom because it shows those similarities and highlights beautiful parts of Chinese culture. It is also a highly engaging book that even the most reluctant of readers is generally willing to read. Additionally, it sends the message that education the way out of many difficult situations. One other a plus to it is that it is a memoir, written by a woman who was raised in China but currently lives in Southern California. This would be a great opportunity for students to connect with the author through authentic pieces of writing.
Your help will open a door for understanding and positive discourse about race relations, bullying, and the benefits of education for my students.
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