Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, February 10, 2005
You know what I love? Campbell’s Soup at Hand. How wonderfully convenient! I can’t say enough about the ease of having a sturdy thing of soup that has to be microwaved for two minutes and then drank out of the same sturdy thing. I can let it roll around my bag. No muss, no fuss. I can then just carry it around with me while I make copies, talk to parents, etc. What a wonder.

You know what I hate? War. Hate. Prejudice.

Speaking of prejudice…

The conference that I went to yesterday turned out to be about teaching English Language Learners (ELL). These are students who used to be referred to as English as a Second Language (ESL) students. In my district, as in many districts, these students are overwhelmingly Hispanic—mainly from Mexico. Had I known this was the kind of conference I was going to, I probably would not have gone. My family is Mexican and I don’t find the attitudes around where I work very favorable towards Mexicans. I would have realized that I would probably only end up offended and would have bowed out. However, I didn’t know.

At the beginning of the conference, the woman in charged talked about the change from "ESL" to "ELL". This change takes into account that some kids know more than just their native language and so English may not be their second language) and sneered, "Probably this change came out of California somewhere. All of this ridiculous political correctness, my word!" Being from California, I took this as my first indication of trouble.

I won’t bore you with too much mention of the general snarling disgust in most teachers’ voices when talking about these "ELL’S", as they were referred to through the entire day. They kept saying things like, "They are taking over" and "They are everywhere, now"—phrases that bring to mind infestation of insects rather than an abundance of students in a school. I won’t linger too long on the fact that they kept referring to our ELL students as "those kids" and the regular education students as "our kids". You know, like "Those kids take up resources that our kids used to get".

I was more upset when the woman who led this thing said, in a warning tone, "Even more of them are coming!" She cited her proof as, "They are building trailer parks by the school! So you know they are on their way!" Clearly, trailer park equals Mexican.

I was most upset when one of my co-workers (I wrote of him the other day, the guy who thinks he knows everything and makes meeting last forever) said, "Most of those kids know English. They are just faking it because they are lazy. If I say, ‘Get moving, Mexican Jumping Bean’ I bet they would know what I was saying."

I freaked out a little and just kept sputtering, "That is so offensive. That is so offensive." But he never listens to anyone and probably didn’t hear me and everyone else in the room was so mortified by the potential confrontation that they moved on very quickly and didn’t let me speak. I spent the rest of the day glaring at him. And he didn’t notice because he lives without any sort of recognition that there are other people on the planet with him.

I have to do this thing four more times. Someone is going down before it is over. I don’t think I am capable of just letting these horrible attitudes slide for three more entire days. Luckily, it is only once a month.
¶ 8:44 AM

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