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Nilsa Olivero

Prof. Westfield,
Thank you for understanding that the educational system as it exists today in New York City continues to create an environment where children from marginalized communities are still being miseducated. If this term exists that is how I can identify while observing one of my student teachers. In one instant; during an observation of a second grade class as the student teacher was passing out skittles in a small plactic bag, an assistant teacher would walk up to a child and scold him. "dont you dare open that bag", the child reacted startled each time the teacher would approach another child ten minutes later. The same individual would then sit on the platform of the window and look at the cell phone. I was stunned at the attitutudes projected to a classroom filled with Latino and African American children at seven years old. finally when the observation was over, I asked for the principles office and shared this concern with the principle. The principle was aware of the individual's behavior and said, she had been spoken to before. The principle was hired to change attitudes of staff and teachers in this school located in the South Bronx. I shared my concerns for young children living through such negative attitudes, while they passively were behaving and eager to learn. That was driving me to tears because I understand how and why there are children not performing to the "standards". How can a child learn when spoken to as though they are not worthy? I understand your behavior to a student walking out of the room to cry. I understand when my own behavior has sent signals at drew as though I am not worthy. I know in a sense I have become nothing more than a "problem" at Drew. I too should walk out the back door. All I could say to you about your beautiful words is keep writing because the in writing you are creating freedom for others to do the same. Not to slam the breaks of injustice but to open the hearts for more understanding. If you don't know a person's motivations; you can just listen from the soul and learn they are seeking aspirations as anyone else. These children deserve more in the public school system yes in the south bronx, they deserve an education with a heart. That is why I continue to prepare student teachers of color to facilitate learning free of abuse and filled with knowledge, courage, love and hope. Thank you again, Dr. Westfield for your zest and courage at such a time as this. Dr. Nilsa Olivero

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