It was a real honor to have Selina Everson, Linda Belardi, and David Katzeek open their chest of knowledge in front of our class today. I truly believe that what makes each culture unique are the stories, advices, and wisdom that are transmitted from generation to generation through elders.
We have an interesting saying in Romanian : “ Cine nu are bătrâni să-şi cumpere“, which basically is translated: “ Who doesn’t have elders should buy some.” Where do we buy our elders? What this really means is that the richness of people is not measured by material things, but by the elders who are our connection to the past and our bridge to the future.
Listening to “ Grandma Selina” speaking about her experience as a child, being forbidden to speak her native language stroke a sensible cord in me. I remembered my grandmother talking about her childhood and annexation of Bessarabia, Romanian territory to Russia. That had a huge impact on her family because all use of Romanian language was phased out, and substituted with Russian. People were not allowed to speak their language, which is such an important element that defines the identity of a culture. I admire Selina Everson because she is a survivor, she fought for her values and beliefs.
There are a few things I’m taking with me from today’s experience that I want to use in my classroom.
Firstly, David Katzeek’s advice to give students the confidence that they can do whatever they put their mind into. A great teacher knows how to build confidence in another human being.
Secondly, Selina Everson’s lesson about not giving up in front of hardness, and respecting every culture. It is really important to me as a person to preserve my culture for my kids and I would try to infuse that feeling of preserving the cultural identity in my classroom.
Finally, Linda Belarde’s words to love your students, to get to know them, and their stories.