Are the things that many of our students might like to forget. Reading the latest article in the New Yorker (please read it) by friend and writer Daniel AlarcÃ³n was yet another reminder as of late about how much more complex educating young students in South Central Los Angeles, many of whom have recently migrated from El Salvador. If they haven’t recently immigrated, then they have family there, coping daily within nightmarish landscapes of political corruption, gang violence, drug wars, and seemingly hopeless cycles and downward spirals.
Much like the warring local gangs, corrupt institutions, and cycles of violence in the community they’ve migrated to, only not as bad. Maybe. The point is that it’s really hard to concentrate on school; learning a new language, a new culture, and your own place in the world as a young person.
In the classroom I had to remind myself of this constantly. Not even a couple months out of the classroom and there have already been more reminders of how serious educators need to help our students deal with the often trauma that is at the center of who they are, where they come from. Making this last push of summer reading all the more relevant for my new intervention position.
And although I’ve always worked to help students write different narratives that counter the often deterministic and disparate stories of futures many see for themselves… It is imperative that we all face the truths that are part of who we all are. This is the only way we move forward. Nobody said it would be easy.