I participated for the second time in a Twitter chat that members of #BEDUC476 suggested on Twitter. The topic was “The Walls Between Us: Immigration, Deportations and Education” on Thurs. Feb 23rd. Here is a recap of the questions and answers. I had learned from my first chat that when I am replying to a question or tweeting my answer to begin the tweet with “A#_”. Unlike my first chat which was Social Studies teachers, this chat included teachers, administrators, M. Ed. students and others working towards increasing Equity and Awareness in K-12 institutions and Community Colleges and universities.
Here’s a few of my answers to some of the questions:
Since the beginning of the school year, I have struggled to understand how to talk about issues with immigration and refugees. As a teacher, it is inappropriate to give political opinions. A few of my students have conservative views. Will Pres. Trump build a wall? Will he deport all illegal immigrants? What will his new refugee ban law look like since his first refugee administrative order was stopped in the courts? Not only are we feeling anxious and confused about the future of our country but so are our students.
My big takeaway was to try and keep my mouth shut. To allow students to discuss issues if they want. Yes, I may have very strong opinions on immigration and refugee policies but expressing them to students is not the place to do so. It is important to try and allow conversation to take place because students really learn best from one another. I’m still trying to figure out how to allow these conversations to occur in my classrooms when I only have a limited amount of time with students each week and so much content to teach.
It was a great chat! I shared about working in a school district and a city where politicians and educators are trying to display their sentiment of continuing to welcome all students. Many educators nationwide share the same responses that I have observed in my classrooms, that many students have been silenced and if they are in fact feeling fear and anxiety, these feelings are being suppressed. Its truly alarming. I’m try to do my best to read and learn from others to understand my part in supporting students dealing with personal fears and anxieties regarding immigration, refugee status and the famous wall.
This chat was even mentioned in a Seattle Times article! I know when #BEDUC476 ends, I will continue to participate in Twitter chats. Learning from other teachers, just like students learning from other students is hands down the best way to learn.