Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Dream Realized

On Tuesday, Sandra Cisneros - the author of "The House on Mango Street" - came to our high school to give a talk for our students. Before I continue, let me make this very clear - I love Sandra Cisneros. Actually, I LOVE, LOVE Sandra Cisneros. While she has written many other books and poetry collections, I read "The House on Mango Street" many, many years ago and the bottom line is it just resonated with me. After all, how could a story about a young Latina girl fighting her culture's expectations of what a woman should be and how she should act NOT resonate with me? Been there, done that. Which is probably why when I was working on creating a Chicano/Latino Literature class over two years ago, I knew "The House on Mango Street" had to be part of the curriculum, and so it is. But the best part about Sandra Cisneros coming on Tuesday - in the end - had very little to do with me. Take a look at the picture below:

Sandra Cisneros is the one next to me. The other two girls were part of the group of first students to take Chicano/Latino Literature last semester and like me, they just got IT. When they both heard that Sandra Cisneros was coming, they could barely contain their excitement. I know, I know. Students getting excited over an author? Unbelievable, right? But it's true. So on Tuesday they sat there - along with the rest of my students - and listened to what she had to say. Afterwards, both of them went up to her to ask her questions. She was wonderful to them - she told them to keep in touch with her and she hugged them several times and even kissed both of them on their cheeks. They were completely beside themselves with joy.

As a teacher, there are so many times when I question whether I am doing a good job. I often wonder if I am really making a difference and if what I do on a daily basis actually MATTERS to anyone. Nobody ever tells you in your education classes that as a teacher, you will need to know how to cope with self-doubt because without this skill, you might as well toss in the hat now. Believe me, self-doubt in teaching can be a daily occurence.

And then there are days like Tuesday. As I sat back and watched my students enjoy and appreciate listening to Sandra Cisneros, and then literally bounce with excitement because she actually talked to them, I thought to myself, "Maybe, just maybe, I have done something right."


Angela said...

you have done many things right- but what an exciting experience...and I HAVE read that book, and (btw) you look absolutely beautiful in that picture- though the crazy thing is you actually look like an adult in it- I think I forget that we are adults- seems more like we hover somewhere inbetween, but I guess we really, truly are, aren't we???

Mimi said...

I am so happy you gave this gift to your students! I know the student who welcomed Ms. Cisneros will remember this moment for the rest of her life. How wonderful for you to impact a child in this way!!! You are a teacher! Ok, maybe you are the only one who will get that...let me try again...You are a wonderfully motivating teacher!!

D's Mix said...

Congrats! I always wondered if I had had a literature teacher who inspired me, if I would enjoy reading more. I have no doubts that you have impacted your student's lives. Well done. Maybe you can work some of your literacy magic on me.

PRP said...

That is so awesome. I fight the same feelings as a mom every single I doing enough? Are they learning what they're supposed to? Etc, etc. But you are making an amazing impact! You've provided these students with something they will literally never forget. What could be better than that???

babybuddhalover said...

You Rock Sara! This is a beautiful post and you are an amazing teacher and human being. XOXO-b