I went to a workshop today in Birmingham, put on by BER (Bureau of Educational Research). The presenter was an educator named Jo Gusman. She was awesome! I attend many conferences throughout the year; some are good and some are not. Today's was exceptional. I learned a great deal about teaching a second language to a non-native speaker. The workshop was for English Language Learners....but as a Spanish teacher I can apply this to my Spanish classes as well. My favorite part of the whole day was the hotlists she gave us. Wow...all the websites and none of the work to hunt them. I have been taking a web class on Web Enhanced Lessons and one of the things we are learning is about hotlists and scrapbooks. I have spent the last couple of hours scoping out all the wonderful websites I got today. It has made me aware of some things I need to do for my students. I need to give them a springboard to websites they need to find. Anyways....on the way home LaDonna, Dolly, Cora and I started discussing the concept of being an immigrant. Today we are seeing so much negativity towards the current immigrants and to be honest it makes me a little ashamed. I believe we must all stop and remember...that unless we are Native Americans (which I am partially)....our families came here from some where else...and were immigrants. Were we illegals? Who knows. The laws were different then. I know I am of Irish descent and when my family came here....they snatched up jobs because they wanted to eat! Hummmm....sound familiar today?....They came here looking for a better life...(my family arrived here during the height of the potato famine in Ireland). A better life they found. One of my Irish ancestors married an Indian from the Porch Creek tribe. One of my Scottish grandparents married a Cherokee....so I have it on both sides. Knowing me...my Indian name would probably have been Clumsy When Running. The point is....that at one time...my family arrived on these shores...and did not belong. We were the aliens. We worked, we dreamed, we carved out a place for ourselves. That is all the immigrants of today want to do....sure, some of them come without waiting for the proper paperwork....but can we truly blame them? They want to better themselves...they want to eat....they want for their children what they did not have. Today's inservice and ride home made me aware that they are no different than me. I have just been here longer. Next time I get that nasty feeling about immigration....I am going to remember Ellis Island and how I felt the first time I stood inside and felt the ghosts of all the people who passed through there. Some of them....just seconds away from the freedom they so desired...while others were torn from those they loved and sent back. What if my family had been sent packing? Would they have tried to get in no matter what??? How badly did they want freedom? I am sure with what they faced coming here....they must have wanted it pretty bad....then....and now. Lady Liberty says, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free....." Free....and tonight as I go to bed....that is what I am free....and I owe it all to some immigrants who came to a strange country searching.
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.