Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speaking for a Multiculturalism Class

I had the honors of speaking to a class today about my experience in NZ and being Hmong. I was delighted! There were a lot of things that could have been said and discussed but there just wasn't enough time.

There was a guy who had to present on an article he read about Hmong's and our history as well as Hmong Americans. He was so nervous because I was sitting there listening to things that were being said. He stuttered so badly and kept looking at me for some kind of nod of approval or something and the rest of his classmates were looking at me for some kind of message.

After the presentation a girl asked me why I smirked at certain things that were said and I said because it's funny and because it's true to a certain extent.

At times I feel like I don't want to be the one representing our whole race but I definitely want to inform others of our race, I just want others to know that this is not the input of everyone, it's just my input and the experiences that I have been in.

It was nice to reflect on growing up and going to school and seeing how teachers treated us or included us in the curriculum. This class was teaching going-to-be teachers about multiculturalism and how they can add it to their curriculum. It was really interesting to see their kind of ideas on how to implement such things. It's harder than it sounds.

How can someone accommodate a person who has left everything that they know of and cared for? How can you help them to adapt, to learn, to fit the social norms?

I really do wish that when I was in grade school something like that was implemented.

I would get yelled at for speaking Hmong at school, I so hated that. I felt like they were disrespecting us, but for some dumb reason the teachers felt like we were disrespecting them. It had nothing to do with them. It was because that is our language, we know that best, we were only learning English at the time.

What would you do? How would you try to implement multiculturalism in a classroom?