Positionality

 

Culturally Relevant Teaching and the Brain (Hammond, 2015), from NYSED, 2022

 

Female, parent, immigrant, bilingual

 

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea and came to the U.S. as a grown-up. My interest in American education and bilingual education was only possible because of the new identities I had gained while processing my transnational experiences and navigating the new country. Being an immigrant parent has given me a new perspective on interpreting the American education system with comparison of my prior schooling experiences and inquiry about social and racial dynamics that play out in schools in Washington D.C. Being bilingual and raising a bilingual child makes me reflect on how to sustain the identities of students with multilingual and multicultural backgrounds. 

 

Asian, Christian

 

My Asian identity differs from that of the vast majority of the students at my residency placement who are identified as African-American and Latinx. Living as an Asian female in America made me aware of the danger of framing people in a pre-categorized box, risking failing to see people as whole beings. It is important for me to view individual students for who they represent themselves and be self-aware of my limited knowledge about my students. I am keenly aware that multilingual students possess richer assets than I am able to see with very limited time with them. I believe in God, and my Christian background has shaped my beliefs and values since a child. Reflecting on my religious beliefs has been the anchor to navigate the world and make decisions, and having compassion for others has been one of my on-going life goals among others. 

 

Nontraditional student/teacher

 

I recall one of the responses I received when I shared my new path of going to graduate school to become a teacher: “You’ll be a non-traditional student.” By stating “traditional”student, I assume that person meant someone who has graduated from college in recent years, or/and grew up and educated in the U.S. In that sense, I agree that I am “non-traditional”, as someone who grew up in another country and speaks English as her second language, and has been away from school for many years. However, I do believe that my non-traditional background also can help students broaden their views and create a shared culture of learning in the nurturing environment.