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ERIC Number: EJ1002326
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0890-6459
Tears, Hope, Resolve, Uncertainty: The Barrier Island of Today's Schools
Bailey, Jennifer
Teacher Education and Practice, v25 n4 p540-543 Fall 2012
"Grief and bitterness entwined are heaven sent. The sad person sits alone, leaning by a window." Over 70 years ago, these words were carved into the walls of Angel Island: a detainment and interrogation center for Chinese immigrants from 1910 to 1940. At the time, American workers were resentful of the Chinese, who were filling low-wage positions; so, strict laws were passed, commonly known as the Chinese Exclusion Acts. While the Chinese detainees sat behind bars for years looking out at the America they sacrificed everything for, they carved short poems into the walls that represented their feelings of fear, isolation, anger, and sadness that welcomed (or imprisoned) them to their new country. The two lines are an excerpt from one such anonymous poem, and the author frames this discussion of imperatives in teacher education and preparation for instructing immigrant students because she believes that the grief and bitterness are represented on both sides. The United States is a country of opportunity, and people have entered the country in anticipation of the dream for prosperity, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, the author often sees that anticipation of what America offers quickly dissolve into grief and bitterness for the student who dreams of a good-paying job and a college education and for the teacher who dreams of making a difference. The question she raises is, have the nation's schools become a modern-day Angel Island? She argues that the nation's education system needs a harsh wake-up call to the realities of teacher preparation and student support. Schools must closely examine their biases that are ingrained within their system, evaluate how they can better support their teachers, and synthesize how they can create a meaningful and positive system that works for every student, regardless of one's language, race, ethnicity, or education background. Like the Angel Island detainees, immigrant students come here with the promise of a better future; however, they walk into environments, both inside and outside of school, that are reminiscent of the pervasive attitudes of misunderstanding and apathy for language learners from over 70 years ago.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; United States