Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Young

        The website created by GLSEN is full of strongly opinionated articles and links. Their mission is to strive to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. After looking over this website for over an hour I have come to realize that this statement is true. One link on this website is On this link there are tips on how to support LGBT issues and the opportunity for visitors to take a stand against anti-LGBT language. This site informed me that this can be done through an interactive pledge form that will allow teens to "say something original" by writing other catch phrases to say instead of things such as "that's so gay." By giving teens a place to put their feelings in the open there is a chance for change. I personally do not use the phrase "that's so gay." I feel that it is not the correct term to use to describe something, not only because that is not the true meaning of the word but also because people get offended by that. Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that there is anything wrong with them and to associate the word "gay" with an issue that upsets someone or puts it into a negative statement is unacceptable in my eyes.
        There was an article related to this issue that stood out to me from the rest. It was about suicide and harassment that goes on in schools, elementary school, middle school and high school. There was an 11 year old boy who committed suicide by hanging himself. He did so because at school he was being bullied and some of the comments being made were accusing him of being gay. This event took place in Springfield Mass. in the year 2009. 11 years old means that you most likely in fifth grade. There is an obvious problem in society if students this age are harassing others over sexual orientation. The teachers do not know how to react to situations like these so there might be a time where the students are not reprimanded for their actions or the situation is not handled correctly. This article gave statistics from the year 2007. "9 out of 10 LGBT youth [86.2%] are verbally harassed, where 44.1% have reported being physically  harassed and 22.1% said they were actually physically assaulted." This is a survey taken from more than 6,000 LGBT students. These numbers are shocking, students tease each other all the time, especially in middle school and high school. However when they are in middle school it is difficult for some students to decipher the tone the students are using, they may be kidding but they may be serious, either way those are not the right words to be messing around with. An 8th grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in Cali, because he "was gay." This website also gives 4 helpful hints to help solve bullying problems. Which can be found at this link, If one by one we change how we talk others around us will pick up on it and hopefully we can change how others think and speak.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trading In One Language For Another

Reflection: Much like your think piece writing from early in the semester, write about your personal connections to this text. what does it make you think about? how does it relate to you?

        Richard Rodriguez was born into a spanish speaking family. This was the language he grew up understanding and reciting. That is until he entered school and needed to begin using English more and more. He talks about the struggles he went through while his family made the language transfer. This article reminded me of my childhood. I was born into an italian speaking house hold. My mother was born in Italy so her side of the family speaks fluent Italian almost all of the time. My father was not born in Italy but his grandmother and mother speak Italian so as a child I was around much Italian. As I learned to talk in English I was also learning Italian. I could speak and understand both. However there were times where I would confuse the two languages. This became an issue as I entered kindergarten. I was pronouncing English words incorrectly because I was bilingual. I was made to take a speech class which I was very unhappy and embarrassed about. I made my cousin go with me because I needed support. Like Richard had his siblings to struggle with I too wanted someone to change with. Rodriguez had an experience that was harder to change and affected his life more than my personal experience. Although this is the case it does not change the fact that I have been through a similar situation. When I was reading about how he did not know how to address his parents after he and his siblings started speaking more English made me feel sorry for him. His whole life was turned upside down and he could no longer find a happy place, going home was not the same because it was not "special" for him anymore.
        This made me think of a friend from home. She moved to Rhode Island from Mexico in elementary school, she spoke fluent English. Her mother spoke Spanish to her and her sisters at home. Growing up with her I have heard of the struggles she's been through just because of the language barrier. Her mother can not go to parent teacher conferences because her English is not strong enough. She did not talk to her mom about things because it was too much work and sometimes to hard to translate the conversation from language to language. My friend had to step up with tasks parent usually take care of such as taxes and paying bills and what not. This article and personal connection also made me think of the students in the class I am tutoring. Many of them have proven to be bilingual. I am now wondering how many students have been in this situation or will face this problem in the future. When I talk to the students they understand me, some stare at me for a second as if they are translating my statement in their head and then figuring out their english response. When the teacher introduces new words to them I can hear some of the students try to read them and pronounce them with an accent. The teacher tries to make sure all students are reading with an english accent. Knowing how these events affect others as compared to what it did to me can help me and other teachers become better and more understanding.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol

Quotes: Choose three quotes from the text and explain what they mean and their relevance to the text.

"Depression is common among children in Mott Haven. Many cry a great deal but cannot explain exactly why." [Kozol 4]
This statement is important to the text and it is meaningful. Children see and hear events they should not be hearing at a young age. Kozol states almost everyone in the area of St. Ann's knows someone who has died of AIDS wether it was a family member or a neighbor. These young children deal with parents and other family members using drugs such as heroin and cocaine. This is a lot for a child to have to handle especially if they do not have someone to talk to about the events. They may being to think they are the problem, seeing their parents unhappy and sick will make them feel more depressed. Even if they are not in any physical danger the events they see everyday will eventually pay a toll on their behavior which could be a reason they are crying without a clear explanation. This quote gives the readers a glimpse of the rough life the children in the Bronx deal with and we know this happens in other areas as well. Children deal with drug use, abuse, freezing weather conditions and lack of shelter.

"The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants," she says. "The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection." [Kozol 10]
The next question asked is "does this insult you?" The woman replied saying that it use to. This quote goes to show just how bad of an area these people live in. If the people put the incinerator there it is probably not an eye sore for the area. She goes on to explain that she is no longer insulted because all around her is trashy. For example there is a large garbage dump a few blocks away so the trucks are always going thru her area. The people who live in that area are not thought of very highly otherwise the towns people would try harder to put the foul smelling equipment in a different location. This quote also shows how little control the community members have and how little say they have on the situation and what happens in their community. This is a key fact to the essay because the reader can get a better understanding yet again of the poor conditions these school children live in. Their lungs are not good because the air they breathe in everyday is bad especially for them because their lungs are still growing and adapting.

"If poor people behaved rationally," says Lawrence Mead, a professor of political science at New York University, " they would seldom be poor for long in the first place." [Kozol 21]
This statement is very important because it is saying poor people are lower in society because of how they themselves act. I feel this has some truth to it. If you are in a bad situation most people want to get themselves out of it and will go to any lengths to do so. When the lower class residents try to over come the conditions they are in they mostly turn in the wrong direction which is to selling drugs and committing crimes to try and better themselves and the lives of their family members. If you are born into a poor family you can not help that but you can change your own future, by hard work one can obtain an education and be able to get a decent job and eventually they will work their way out of the lower class. So yes one can change their life by their behaviors and this is important because there are many low income towns and if those people can get an education things can change for the better.

Question/Comment/Point to Share: This article was an eye opener, reading the stories all the murders and terrible deaths made me realized what some people are going through. I had heard of events like these taking place but they always seemed so distant. Now reading this article with events taking place in New York I have a better awareness. I also have a new outlook on the children I could be working with in a school in my future. You can not tell from looking at someones face what they have been through and until you know them and their story you can not judge. For this reason everyone should be given equal opportunities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


hello, I'm Rachel Frazier and I am a freshmen planning to major in Early childhood Education with a concentration in special education. I am from Westerly, RI which is about an hour south from RIC. I have been running track since 6th grade and am currently on the RIC track team. I am a sprinter, I mostly run the 400 meter race. It has been a very rewarding experience so far. When I'm not in class or doing homework I enjoy spending time with my friends and suite mates. I like to be outdoors and am pretty out going. I enjoy all kinds of music and played the saxophone from 5th grade to 9th grade. Music has always been a major part of my life. I am looking forward to the semester but i know it will be a challenging one.