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From Jorge: Being Quarantined in Prison

Hi everyone! My co-author Jorge ( please buy our book, Letters From the Inside: Hope in the Journey Beyond Classroom and Cell . All proceeds go to his family!) wanted to update you all about daily life in prison. This is another blog post directly from him. If you want to help his family out financially or write to him, please contact me! I can't put photos of him or the prison so photo credit Sam C, a student who took some photos to evoke the feeling of prisons in various ways for this series. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (This is a continuation of a post from earlier this week ) I asked the CO as to why this was happening but all he said was that medical called him and ordered him to do that but he didn't know why. So since he didn't give me the reason why this was happening, I walked to medical, and I asked them why I was getting quarantined. The nurse wrote my name down, then 10 minutes later, another nurse came out, call
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Follow-up from Jorge: Moving Down a Level

 Hi everyone! My co-author Jorge ( please buy our book, Letters From the Inside: Hope in the Journey Beyond Classroom and Cell . All proceeds go to his family!) wanted to update you all about daily life in prison. The next couple blog posts will be from him! If you want to help his family out financially or write to him, please contact me! I can't put photos of him or the prison so photo credit Sam C, a student who took some photos to evoke the feeling of prisons in various ways for this series. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's crazy how things can be going really good then with a snap of a finger it can just change out of nowhere! July 29th, I landed on F-yard, which is a level 2, my first time ever experiencing a level 2. My whole time incarcerated I have been cell living and that's how I been doing my time for the past six years, so I didn't know any different. So dropping down a level was a big change for me. When I

A Message from Jorge

I am so grateful for everyone who came to the virtual book launch for Letters From the Inside: Hope in the Journey Beyond Classroom and Cell. In conversation with author Mitali Perkins, also a friend of Jorge, my co-author, we had a conversation full of hope and promise. If you missed it, you can watch the video .  Of course, there was a very important person missing from the celebration: Jorge, my co-author. He will be incarcerated for at least another eight years. He wrote this message to all of you:  Although I cannot physically be present to discuss this book and my life, I hop e you all can understand a life  of a boy who was traumatized, hurting, and craving love and affection from those who were around. Growing up in the environment I was raised in was not easy and until today it is not easy. It’s been told that people like “me” who were in the wrong p ath, are set to fail. Most children do not get a fair chance to succeed, often times they are judged. But before judging a stru

An Anti-Racism Journey, Part 2

Part 1 is here . I feel like this could be as many parts as I had time to write, and I really hope that people offer some feedback. After I started teaching Black and brown kids, I quickly realized the work I needed to do, and in fact that all white educators need to do. Realizing that we have work to do, however, is a lot easier than doing the work. If you've never thought about it, take a minute to consider how public school systems are entrenched in white culture. The hand-raising instead of calling out, looking adults in the eye, lectures, sitting still... many of these are not necessarily best practices and are not what many non-white people do at home, but we force kids to adapt to this mold. I remember when I first thought to question this. I was a student teacher in Sacramento and didn't think twice about asking a child to "look me in the eye" to show respect. A Hmong parent gently pointed out that, in their culture, it was extremely rude for a child to l

An Anti-Racism Journey: Part 1

This is a slogan that I'd love to adopt. However, I don't think it's accurate. Because there is no time in the history of America when everyone agreed that racism was wrong. It's easy to see it now: Trump is stoking the fire of racism and bringing racists out of the woodwork! Why can't things just go back to the way they were before him? The problem, of course, is that racism was still around before that. Yes, even when Obama was president. It was just easier for white people to ignore. I know it was easy for me to ignore, right up until I started teaching Black and brown kids and saw it up close. And I will always regret not realizing sooner that not only was racism still present, but that our country was founded on it. That this IS who we are and always has been. I found a picture of myself during my first year teaching. I was 24 and looked about 15. I was surrounded by five boys: three Black kids and two Vietnamese kids, all in my first-grade class. I ha

I Know Why We Learn History!

I was tutoring a high schooler a while back, when we could still see each other in person, and he was reading Night  by Elie Wiesel. If you aren't familiar with this book, it's a memoir of Wiesel's time at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. It's obviously horrific and very hard to read. The student had some learning differences and struggled a bit with many academic tasks, and Night  was a challenge. The copy he had was printed with a small, old-fashioned font, and much of the writing is old-fashioned, so he was struggling. In addition, it's one of the hardest subjects possible to read about, and Wiesel does not hold back but tells the stark truth. As we were slogging through this, my student was really doing his best, but needed help on most sentences, as well as a lot of the context of what was going on in the world in 1944. He kept asking me if this was really true, and I hated answering yes. At one point, he was quiet for a long time, after a

A Kid's Argument for Pets in Class

Pets in classes   By Symphony R, age 10 I believe that there should be pets in classes. Not class pets. Let me explain. I think kids should bring their pets into class, as long as they behave, so you could see a new one each day.   You’re probably thinking, “ What about allergies? This sounds like a bad idea.” Well, I have a solution for that. You could have everyone in the class write down their allergies, so you can’t bring that pet. I read something that said watching fish is calming, and petting a cat lowers your heart rate, and I would be sad and lonely if I was away from my cats ( Also, my friend’s cat just died :(. ) . Being with pets makes you calmer! Something teachers would likely support is that when an animal came, you could study its behavior. Or do a report on it!  In conclusion, I believe bringing pets to school is a good idea, if they behave well.