9/11

Today is like any other day. Days blur.

I write 11 September when students ask to go to the bathroom or I write in assignments for the day as if nothing has passed since 2001. Then it will hit me, just for a second the weight of the event.

So far removed from the events of the day, it is easy to just let the days blur on by and make a quick remembrance for those who have died.  To be frank, on that day, I walked by the televisions on campus. I did not know of the Twin Towers, Pennsylvania fields and the Pentagon until I arrived on campus.

While I sympathize, I cannot empathize because the experience would be vastly different if I were at ground zero at any of those sites. I still have that weight, but not enough to stop for a minute or two to remember.

Events since that day has demonstrated the path the world is taking and that is a much scarier path we celebrate.  We accuse all Muslims for the actions of the radical few who destroyed lives for their beliefs. We accuse all dark-skinned people for the burden that they place upon us in voice of privilege. We accuse all people with disabilities for the burden of breaking down barriers.  We accuse those who speak a different native American language instead of acknowledging the humanity of the same.

What journey have we taken since 9/11 and where are we going? Are we going to stop for a moment or two and look within and realize that the accusations are our own as well?

It may be cold of me that day when I walked by the televisions – “It’s about time.”

via Daily Prompt: Sympathy

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Eclipse: a journey of in between

The last solar eclipse I totally remember was when I was a senior in high school. I was a science geek and I still am despite my battles with mathematics.  So teaching at high school (some years later…) and my class begged me in ASL to go outside. Naturally, we outside and I did some classwork jingling. It was also nice because I could informally introduce one lesson.

 

Anyhow back to point…the experience back in high school, I was able to share with my students such as the leaves on ground changing shapes (thicker trees are a bit more difficult to see through). My colander didn’t work too well…shucks!

Some classes came in and out and we were able to borrow the eclipse glasses to take some pictures. Then the clouds could filter the eclipse through.

Then of course, the temperature and wind changes. You can feel that change not only from outside but from within. That sense of a shift and how people behave.  A friend of mine said it is like during full moon. Enjoy the photos. There’s no superstition for eclipses, again we feel that shift in us, don’t we?

Advice for Parents…

As a teacher, this is something I want to share with you. A lot of students, I teach high school, have phones of various technologies.  Depending on school corporations or high schools, there are rules about the use of electronic devices. Devices take away from peer interaction and learning, guaranteed.

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Hiding the phone ain’t going to work. 

Whoa! Wait!  What about using electronic devices for classwork or projects?  If our classwork and projects require, suggest or allow use of electronic devices, then that is worked within that restriction.

Otherwise – no. I find myself irritated by….the concept that the parents are an exception to the use of electronic devices in school.  I often find myself catching students on their phones (first, the subject I am teaching is American Sign Language and second, I am a visual person) and finding out that their parents are in contact with them, sometimes another relative as well.

Why?  Why?  I just wonder if their education is valuble or not?  Why?

Even on a dumbfounding aspect – employers contacting the students during school hours too and expect to be answered quickly. Really?  There has to be a boundry of respect for time established.

As a parent, I have to hold myself accountable to how my children learn and use phones/devices. They do not have phones…yet and when they do, they will have responsibilities and so will my husband and I.

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Observe the students’ behavior and the information that is on the board.  How is the phone helping with learning? 

I have other jobs as well and co-workers or employers know that I will answer when I can, often after hours, during lunch break or other available times. They acknowledge and accept that I cannot answer them until I can.  My children will have to expect this as well. I will not pick up my phone during teaching class to answer something, why should students do the same?

So parents, please please please think about how distruptive it is when students answer your texts (especially) or calls during class time.  Sit with your child and explain the importance of being responsible during their time in school and their electronic devices.

Supporting your school district educators and raising responsible children ready for the real world will go a long way.   Thanks!

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How do you feel looking at this student?

Additional resources I found interesting:

 

 

Safe Space

What do you think of once you see the title ‘Safe Space’?

A safe space is safe as long as people within that space respects those who are within that space. Whether they agree to disagree, ask for better understanding or acknowledge that there is difference in who we are.

My classroom, I have noticed, is often a safe space for students. I tend to have different kinds of people; whether they be people of color, LGBT, a person with disability or bilingual. I attended a professional development presentation on campus where I realized that I tend to not send students of color outside of my classroom for the slightest thing.

While my classroom is a safe space for students, it is not one for me. How can a classroom not be a safe space for someone like me?

SafeSpaceIntersectionality

Created by me…

I teach American Sign Language and I am deaf. Naturally, I do struggle with students speaking in the classroom where I practice 90% or more use of target language with pictorial and written English supplemental information. One thing that has been constant, students thinking that I cannot tell if they are speaking (there are some exceptions…) or I am faking my own deafness (vibrations!).

I deal with a wide range of people who hear on a daily basis, approximately 80% of my time. It can get tiring and frustrating, at the same time excited, especially when someone tries to sign back or efficient communication.

I consider my classroom my own personal safe space where I can teach students about ASL, Deaf culture and the people who live within this community. Yet one thing that could make a personal difference within this space that can be transferred out to the real world…is the consistent use of spoken English.

This includes signing and speaking at the same time, which is deteremental to the ability to understand ASL, especially when it is signed. Like learning any language and I can share this from my personal experience learning French, it is not enough just knowing vocabulary and grammar, it is the ability to be able to converse in the language one is learning – at any level.

When a simple policy of not speaking English but signing or using other communication method is established, there is a reason for that – language wise; human wise or for real world application.  Is it a wonder that my safe space is also threatened?  How can I encourage consistent safe space for my students?

I wonder if it is the same for those who are like a fish out of water – marginalized and minority people teaching in majority population locations.

 

A Letter to Me at 16 years old

Dear 16 year old Joanna,

You may be smart, but also dumb.  Be straight with yourself, you will struggle through your journey, questioning the human mission that placed you on this earth. What you dream is a journey, your sixth sense telling you what may come and reality is as it is.

There will be things which are distasteful to you but you will strive.

There will be good times and bad times. Do ask for help, swallow that pride! You will learn that there are two sides to everything, a gray area in life. You are and always have been a teacher, no matter how exhausting it can be – keep on being a student of life.

At least, what we will agree on at the age of 16 and 40, life is learning and learning is life – we go forth and play. Education is varied, personal or professional.  We agree that people are cool, has potential and are just simply human.  Technology is a tool, just a tool.

We are still a tree hugger and I still believe in the best of each …. only to add, also the worst in each.

Remember – life is a journey. Smile a lot and have faith in yourself.

Joanna from about 25 years later.

Life…Meaningless?

Life without technology or global communications would be as complicated as it is now.  Dying one day without knowing why allows us to revere the natural world and our part in it, as well as resepcting the inclusion of our species within its circle of life.

why am I being fatalistic today?  The ways of the world for a long time has weighed heavily on my mind and my soul.  I fear nothing but death. Death, why? I do not like missing out on anything, thanks to my experience and an aspect of myself – curiousity.

April’s National Geographic covered the topic of future of humans, climate change, degradation of natural resources (due to climate change, human practices and behaviors).

Changes have been coming and they still will be coming. Genetic change? Here. Bionic implants are already here. Superiority, thanks to Darwin, already been here for a thousand years thanks to European “civilization”. Thank you, Charles Darwin and the scientists whom have followed afterwards.

Most of the time I wish Darwin never got anywhere.  The survival of the fittest doesn’t mean humans should go willy nilly on making changes on a genetic level that will impact our species and the world in so few generations.  Well, that’s already happening despite what Congress or the climate change naysayers are telling us.

Being deaf is a way of life just as being a short lady with curly hair and blue eyes. Despite the gains that we bring to the world, we still will be eradicated.  Someone who is colorblind appreciates what life has to offer until an implant allows them to ‘see’ beyond.  The gap will continue widen between people as they have done today with wealth and intelligence.  The next gap is between those who choose the natural path and those who choose bionics.

Bionics are just tools that will take the human extreme of ‘survival of the fittest’ to a level where ethics will ignored, be damned the human species.

With what we are doing to the world, ourselves with technology and war, has not life become meaningless?  Am I raising my children to value life, only to have it turned back on me just because I happened to be different from them? Am I teaching children to value the world more than technology only to have them make the decision to support linguicide as well as genocide?

I will continue to live…when death comes at my door, I welcome it.  No longer shall I look to the future with such curiousity.

Love.Hate.G.March2017

Drawing by my soon to be 8 year old. 

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless

Colorblind

I am not colorblind. I see color. Color all around me, how can I be blind? I see you, I see rainbow-mushroom-eye-webyou, you, you, you and you.  Oh, yeah …. you too!

Biologically colorblind folks I respect. Unique experience is theirs, yet not mine. I cannot lie, I see color. Blind I am not, you ask me to dare not see color, I will not lie.

You, you, hey you, yes you! I see your color. Do you see mine? Same, different or a mix, no matter. You, me, beautiful colors.

I. am. not. colorblind.

 

Jumbled Thoughts Now

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Personal photo; Instagram

I voted. Yep, I did. I voted in both parties.

I am a moderate. Each party has its own values and perspectives. I can get and support fiscal responsibility and I also see the importance of hiring qualified people with disabilities.

This is an election that I have never thought to fear the outcome…either way.

Fear for myself, a white woman who is deaf and a bilingual speaker (American Sign Language and English). Fear for my husband, while a white male, is also a deaf person of second generation and a bilingual.

Fear for my bilingual children, who will take upon themselves the responsibility and burdens that we leave with them after our decisions. Our decisions as Americans through election of representatives.

I voted.

I shared my thoughts in person or on social media. I respected others’ thoughts and I tried to understand from their perspective. This is where we are stumped. We all have perspectives; however, our life’s journey are not the same way. We will share some same qualities that provide similar perspectives, yet be on polar opposites because of our personal experiences.

I woke up Wednesday morning as it was any other day, but creeping within my thoughts was the outcome of the election. Not only the Presidential race, also the Congress and my lovely State of Indiana. Turns out…America bleeds Red.

I spent the day distracted, checking Facebook and news often, to get the pulse of the nation, at least amongst friends and family. I look around my classroom and the hallways and wonder what they think of me now. Now that the country bleeds red, Republican red – not human red.

Now it is the second day after the election and news are not looking good. Trump finds out that the Congress may even block his actions. I said it before and I will say it again, it is not only the Presidential race we should have been watching, but the Congressional races. There are stories of parents who had to pick up their kids earlier in the day because white kids decided to tell the black kids that they should not be here or tell the Latinx that they will be going home.

So when would it be our turn? Yes I ask that because recently I presented atscreen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-59-15-pm TEDxValparaisoUniversity about being a part of each other’s communities while retaining our own values, languages and cultures, mutual respect. More people have communicated with simple THANK-YOUs when we go elsewhere and it is appreciated. Now I have to look over my shoulder and wonder… guess what, it already came.

The posting you see to the right was posted by someone who I know and respect and was shared by a friend on Facebook. The irony in this is the person who was yelled at is a hearing person whose parents are deaf. An ally and a dear friend of our deaf community and this is what she gets.

It has arrived. I voted.

As a white woman who is deaf and bilingual, my life and those whose threads go through me connecting, the fear is real. My stomach still hurts and no, it is not ulcers…yet.

At least America agrees with this:

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Resources: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/11/10/white-christians-who-voted-for-donald-trump-fix-this-now/

Good News: http://www.cracked.com/blog/dont-panic/

http://gothamist.com/2016/11/10/subway_therapy_messages.php#photo-1

Daily Post Connection Themes: Smoke, Banned, Transformed, Urgent, Trust, Test.