The Backlash: Attitudes overseas about Refugee Kids attending public school reflect what we may be facing here in the US

It is not new news that many countries in Europe, and more recently Canada, have been taking refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions for months, and that the “honeymoon” period of goodwill and charity is starting to wear thin–and the backlash is growing. See this article:

As an educator here in the US, particularly in Arizona, a state not known for particularly liberal views or  an “open-armed” policy toward immigrants,  I am concerned that these children and their families, who will be coming from various war zones around the world–Syria and Iraq most notably–will be facing just such resistance and unwelcome attitudes in our own community.

I found out just a few weeks ago, that we could expect an undisclosed but possibly large group of immigrant students, due to enroll in our school as early as mid-October. An apartment complex nearby likely took a contract to house as many families as they could accommodate, with some families having up to 8 members in a household. This is a bit of a stressful situation, mainly in how our classrooms may need to grow in size, which may possibly even create a need for combination classes—mainly ESL combo classes, which means my current position as a resource “pull-out” teacher may become a thing of the past. Although I am an experienced classroom teacher, even combo-grades, I like my current position. On the other hand, I look forward to the challenges and the joys of working with refugee students again.

This doesn’t mean I do not acknowledge the concerns about our school “climate” changing drastically (a big concern for my principal), or that there is likely to be health and mental/emotional issues among these children–I do, and there will be issues on a scale this school is not likely to have faced in some time. But this is what I have prepared for most of my professional life, and all of my training and schooling is going to be put to the test.

But the real issue here are the rights of the refugee students–they have a right to safe haven, to be able to go to school, to feel accepted. And with the current public climate, that terrorism is somehow following these children into our country, I am doubly concerned. I am going to need to advocate like never before. Will our community be up to the task?

Will I?

I truly hope so, for theirs—and all of our sake.


A BBC Video Explains What Teachers Think About and Deal With Daily

This brilliant video shows teachers, presumably from Britain, discussing what it is like to be a teacher, what questions they’re asked, and why they stay in the profession…and surprise, surprise! It’s almost EXACTLY the same discussions teachers here in the states would have, probably teachers around the world, come to think of it. Watch this funny and touching video, and feel free to comment in this forum, especially if you are a teacher.


An “Unaccompanied” Immigrant’s Story in Video

This video, from the Los Angeles Times and featured on Facebook, is a very touching example of what many immigrant/refugee and unaccompanied youth face….day after day, they work, try to get an education, and stay off the radar. It’s all about the American Dream for them…will they actually ever attain what is rapidly becoming almost unattainable: Respect, a decent living, an education, and a safe place to call home.

Watch and share your thoughts, if you would.

I apologize for the lack of a visual or subtitles (some Spanish dialogue)…the embed didn’t work like it was supposed to. I will repost later with any corrections I am able to make. In the meantime, still quite viewable, nonetheless.


Alicia Keys short film: Let Me In

This is a very poignant and beautiful example of what it might be like if the tables were turned, and we in the West were the refugees. I believe Alicia Keys is a great activist spirit, sent from heaven (with a voice to match), and I wanted to share her vision with you here…As another human being who loves and respects all lives, most especially the thousands of refugee lives across the globe, who need our love and compassion, and shelter from the storm. Please watch! Via Upworthy on Facebook.

This video still applies: #BlackLivesMatter

This needs to keep going around, until everyone, everywhere, gets the point. We should not stay quiet in the face of racism.

You Don't Know Me, But You Will...

This video, courtesy of AJ+ via Facebook, pretty much sums up the race war being perpetuated by elite, mostly white forces—under the guise of “law enforcement”– in this country. Two more deaths: #AntonSterling, and #PhilandoCastile.

Now, violence in #Dallas.

If this cycle doesn’t stop soon, it will spill over into everyone’s lives–it already has, to some degree.

But when you have to worry that your child or any of your loved ones could be the next to fall, then you might understand the rage and sadness felt by those who lost someone in these horrible incidents. And exactly why #BlackLivesMatter.

The young poet, Sarah O’Neal, in the video says: Ask us to  be polite, to stay calm, to voice grief with respect…while our brothers’ bodies are laid out in the street, sounding the alarm.

This is not a time to stay quiet.

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