Immigrant Students and Literacy

By Marco

This semester is RLIT 6345 Transnational and Immigrant Literacies, students were asked to complete a blog post as part of a professional book project.

campano bookGerald Campano’s book on Immigrant Students and Literacy is an excellent resource to inspire teachers that teach immigrant students in their classroom. There are many lessons that we can learn from this selection. From the importance of teaching with heart and compassion, to never giving up on our students were a few of the themes of the selection. I was amazed on how effectively Campano was able to work with his students through the skill of writing. He brought out their inner voice in the form of stories that the children had been waiting to tell.

The selection follows Campano, on his first year teaching, to a very poor school district in Houston, Texas.  It was a very trying time for Campano. He faced the challenge of working with low performing students who needed a lot of additional help. A first year teacher’s nightmare was probably what the author was feeling at this moment in time. However, as teachers, one of our strengths is perseverance and Campano did not give up. He made the best out of a bad situation and even gained the respect of his students.

Nevertheless, in order for Campano to become a more effective and empathetic educator, he felt that he had to gain a better understanding of his own identity. As a Filipino, Campano had never acquired a true appreciation for his own self-identity and he felt that this affected his teaching career.  He was not able to embrace and appreciate his own culture. Although, through the process of educating his students and seeing the injustices that these children experienced, Campano accomplished his goal. Finally, he was able to foster an appreciation for his own identity.

As the story progressed, Campano moved from Houston, Texas to California. In this new phase of his life, he took a position as a fifth grade classroom teacher.  He was placed in a classroom of students that needed a lot of help. The students that he was given were children that been classified as hopeless and rejects. They were also considered lazy and incapable of learning any new material. This infuriated me because as a teacher our job is to never give up on our students. As educators, we want education to be important to all children despite their upbringing. Campano realized the importance of reaching out to his students.  He reached out to his students by having them share what was important in their life, through stories that needed to be heard. Through the use of writing Campano was able to get their voices heard. Poverty, discrimination, gang violence, and death were just a few of the common factors that these children shared through their writing.

This is a great inspirational book, which can be utilized during the staff development trainings at the beginning of the year. It will serve as a reminder that all children can learn and that we are the key that will ensure their success. This selection serves as a great inspiration to all educators.

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