Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our first day of “school.”// Standing up for DACA.

I hemmed and hawed about whether to send Everett to preschool this year. He turned three in June and I want to make sure he is prepared for what lies ahead in his life. I wondered if the best education possible this year could happen with our family or would it be better for him to be in a classroom? Is it bad for him to spend most of his time with a mom and a baby instead of interacting with his peers? Could it better for him to spend his learning time out and about at the zoo and the museums and reading books with me or does he need another teacher in his life?

I recognize that I overthink everything. Ultimately, I decided to keep him home, at least for now.

Then, Tuesday, on our first day of “school,” the Trump administration announced the repeal of DACA, which could change the educational trajectory of 800,000 students in this country, some of whom have walked through the doors of my classroom, who have shared their lives and their stories and their passions with me. 
  • A boy who was too fearful to tell anyone when he got jumped as he was trying to keep bullies from taking his sister’s money. 
  • A dad who couldn’t be present at a birth. 
  • A boy who felt he had no other option but to join the military. 
  • A girl who felt she had no other option but to get pregnant and become a mom. 
  • A single mother who raised her boy on a house cleaner’s income only to have him skip college because he felt like he had no future despite getting straight A’s in high school. 
  • A family whose father got deported and has to live apart from his wife and kids. 
  • A family who couldn’t go visit their grandma when she was on her deathbed.  

These are just some of the stories I have heard from my students. They are not mine to tell, but they are now a part of me, too. As a teacher, I hope that I can make a difference, but in reality, the inverse is true, and the students I have taught have transformed and inspired me.

While DACA didn’t change everything for these students, it did provide them an opportunity to follow their dreams and not live in fear of deportation. 

Many of these are children who have no memory of their “home” country. Children who have grown up in our education system. Children who work incredibly hard to get into college.

They deserve to be able to follow their dreams. 


On our first day of “school,” we did our “curriculum” during Cambria’s morning nap, read books, went to the train museum, had a picnic in Balboa Park, walked through the botanical garden, and had a play date.

I took “first day of school” photos because I saw so many cute ones floating around the internet, and I wanted something to compare to last year

And we finished our day going to an event to stand up for DACA as a family. 

And I realized, yet again, how truly privileged I am in so many ways. Simply because of where I was born. Simply because of the family I was born into.  

Privileged. As a parent, I have never had to think about taking the risk of crossing a border with my family, leaving everything behind, with hope that my children will have opportunities I didn’t have. I have never had to consider limiting my dreams solely because I was not born in this country. I have never had to live in fear that I might be taken from the only home I have ever known. 

I roll my eyes at myself for worrying so much about whether or not I should put my three year old in preschool this fall. I feel guilty for having so many choices and options.

But I realize guilt doesn’t lead us anywhere productive. 

So in our family, we read about “peace,” talk about what it means, and we go to events like we did on Tuesday night to support measures like DACA. Often I am overwhelmed by the injustices that are present in our world today. Often I don’t have the right words to write about these things. Often it feels like we can’t make a difference. But in our family, we have decided that we will show up anyway.

My kids are too young to really understand, but we bring them with us. I wonder how much Everett is absorbing, but it doesn’t really matter if he can explain what we are doing or if he will remember it. We are building our family culture. We stand up for others. We stand up for what we believe in. And we instill lessons in our children that can’t simply be learned in a classroom. 
When little sister starts defending herself:
Playing hide and go seek: