Presentation on theme: "Family in My Life: How Its Importance Contributes to My Teaching of Community Literacy A Graphic Memoir By Caroline M. Baas."— Presentation transcript:
Family in My Life: How Its Importance Contributes to My Teaching of Community Literacy A Graphic Memoir By Caroline M. Baas
I remember. I remember a time when my family was the last thing on my mind. When, growing up, I just could not understand the decisions my parents made. I remember the overwhelming, burning desire I had to leave any family event and go be with my friends. When, thinking about my future, I swore I would always let my children do this, do that. I also remember the exact moment all of this began to change for me. During my freshman year of college, my thinking began to shift. I missed by family deeply and I distinctly remember when my brain started to understand the decisions my parents had made in the past. It wasnt that my family had not been important to me, but during my influential first year of college, I began not taking my family for granted. I understood where my parents had been coming from. I cherished the time I could spend with family. I was lucky, and I knew it. ACHANGEACHANGE
I value. Every since my thinking began to change, my family and the relationships I formed with them became extremely important to me. I felt so fortunate to have a family that cared about me and that would be there for me whenever I needed something.
Another lesson. My first year of college was hard for me and I strengthened my relationship with my mom almost everyday. Other members of my family were also always on my mind. Especially my grandma and grandpa Baas who were getting older each day. My grandma had been diagnosed with cancer but they said it wasnt growing fast enough to do anything about it. They were wrong. Losing my grandma while I was in college was another experience that really taught me never to take those who love me for granted.
Vignettes: A Look Into the Importance of Family Because family still remains extremely important to me today, the vignettes I wrote both center on artifacts that represent aspects of my family and their importance to me: My Grandma Jeanette Rylaarsdam Baas and Cousin Pictures Following is a brief summary of each vignette.
Vignette 1: Remembering My grandma had a magnetic personality that encouraged those around her to try new things but that also drew you to her with the effect of a trance. She was perfect because she was imperfect and as my mother would say, She was always so put together! She constantly shushed but grandpa when he talked too much (which he always did) or started talking about something she deemed inappropriate. I can still hear her voice saying Jack! Always wanting to impress his Bride, my grandpa always read the plays before they left – and this was not his forte. I do not know how long I stayed there with her. It seems like an eternity but I have a feeling it was only a few minutes. Her last words to me were, You are leaving already? I didnt know what to say. "I choose to remember her as she was when her life was full, enjoyed. I know shes around and that she can see the impact she has had on me every day of my life.
g Vignette 2: Cousin Pictures In the midst of almost-full humidity and the constant hum of cicadas, my aunt walks around the imperfect circle made by our Mexico cottages and tells us that it is time to take cousin pictures…
We usually hope that everyone is there but as we have gotten older over the quick years, usually some of us are missing. I however – I have been in the cousin pictures for as long as I can remember, or for as long as Aunt Julia has been taking them. Every year, I have been there.
If one were to arrange the cousin pictures out on the floor, it would be easy to see the gentle progression of height, the gradual growth of facial hair, or the widening of waists. It would also be easy to see the additional people in the camera frame – it started with maybe ten and marriage and children have increased the number to closer to twenty.
Cousin pictures have created a special place in my mind for all the silly poses – the totem poles, the pyramids, and the jump, jump, jump.
Cousin pictures have constantly reminded me of how lucky I am to have the family that is mine.
Vignettes: Their Influence On Me as a Literacy Teacher
My two vignettes are all about family. They are about the influence my family has had on me and the amount of value I place on my family and the relationships we build with one another. Seeing the value in my own family and not taking our bonds for granted as influenced me to want to instill the same values in my students. In my classes, I work hard to help my students to be critically literate of not only themselves but of the relationships they form with others.
One of my main focuses within literacy is helping my students to be consumers of the world and of life – not just of school. The stories we read and the discussions we have are all centered on building relationships – learning how to understand others, empathize with the situations of others, and live and work with others. One of the main assignments we do that deals with relationships with others is the Personal Narrative assignment in my Composition class. The following student writing excerpt demonstrates one students critical thinking about her Aunts death. I know for some people it must be hard to read this, but imagine writing it. Grief is a good and a bad thing but vary powerful; even in the subconscious. The connection to others is very obvious but as human beings we are blind to it. These physic connections tend to have past influences, so I've read about in many books. After writing this essay, I know it has made me a stronger person and I' m not afraid to express myself. I now express my self in: art, acting, and I began to write short stories and poems. This has allowed me to get all my emotions out.
Another main aspect of my teaching is… BUILDING COMMUNITY! The value I place in building relationships had definitely influenced the value I place in building community in my classroom. I strive to teach my students how to work well with others and to feel like contributing members in their classes.
My positive realizations about the importance of family and the specific experiences depicted in my vignettes have helped me to integrate the same values into the courses that I teach. I know that I will continue to build relationships with my students and to encourage them to form positive relationships with others during school and beyond. It is these relationships that make life full and complete.