Cultural Responsiveness

Cultural Responsiveness


For me being a Latino teacher is
extremely important to me for a lot of different reasons. A) I work with predominantly Latino students. One of the student groups that has the highest
dropout rates are Latino students, particularly males. We see that our Latina students are actually
performing significantly better than our Latino males. So I believe it’s really important for there
to be the representation in the classroom, in a position, in a successful position, in
a career position for students to see themselves represented by someone who’s running a classroom
or running a school or running a department or any professional career for that matter. So I believe it’s really important
for, A) for me to have that representation here. Of the different career choices that I could
have chosen, I chose this profession because of my desire to want to work with students,
students of color, to want to help guide them and help them achieve their goals and achieve
their successes. I think that my brown skin, me
being Latino, is relevant and important. For the reasons that I grew up on the fringe. I grew up in a predominantly white or a Caucasian
neighborhood. It was affluent. I grew up in Orange County, California. Given that the demographics of
Corona high school are so diverse, both ethnically and socioeconomically, I found it to be a
great advantage to consider the works of Patrick Finn, specifically Literacy with an Attitude. That’s been a really remarkable piece that
has guided my teaching in many ways. One activity that I had done is
I actually pulled out a map of Corona and we looked at the socioeconomic breakdown and
the geography of the city itself, the elevation, how the lower latitudes, or rather than lower
elevation near the freeway, and that tended to be more blue collar. We looked at the houses up on the hill and
the difference between those socioeconomically and then also considered the difference in
what one considered to be what a middle-class classroom would look like and what a working
class classroom would look like. And so in addressing those particular
challenges and what the challenges are from someone on Fourth Street as opposed to someone
off of Ontario, in looking at that with having all of us in the room, it gave the kids, on
the other side of the tracks on the nicer side of the tracks, so to speak, a sense of
what it’s like for those kids who walk home from this high school and they walk into Fourth
Street. Traditionally a gang-laden street that’s had
a lot of conflicts in the past. For the students growing up on
Fourth Street, got a clear sense of maybe how much of a network they need to build in
order to be successful or how much of a network they maybe don’t have and and why it’s important
to use programs such as Avid to have success. So in teaching this diverse demographic,
I found it to be really successful because both parties are like-
Both my middle-class, maybe typically Caucasian student, who might have a larger
network of support and might be a little bit better off socioeconomically, and my Latino
or Latina student growing up on a really difficult street with a lot more limitations. Both had a vested interest in making this
environment an environment where they can empower themselves. So one of our goals was to take
the classroom, take this middle-class classroom with all this diversity, and to make it an
affluent, professional type setting. Or to make it an executive elite type setting
where they were given the power, they were given options, they were given a democratic
say in the direction of the class.

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