San Ysidro High School Group II
Spring 2023: Delasia Nazzaro, Bieza Yegoraw, and Britney Munoz Arriaza
Ms. Gomez, our ROHP teacher partner at SYHS, is an outstanding teacher and was really inspiring to me. She convinced me that I definitely want to pursue teaching Ethnic Studies to young students. She’s not always super strict like a lot of teachers were for me in high school. She does have her firm moments with them but she’s very connected with her students and celebrates their accomplishments and mourns their losses (especially in sports). She also pokes fun at them and is able to make jokes with them because they understand the mutual respect they have for each other. Working with Ms. Gomez was ALSO really exciting because her classroom is really well decorated and the course is designed to be very student centered.
The students in Ms. Gomez’ classroom were amazing in all kinds of ways. Some students were very talkative and outgoing, and there were also students that were really shy and hardly said a word all quarter. Some of the students came out of their shells eventually, which was really fun to see. All of the students seemed very interested and receptive to the topics we presented on, and all of them followed our example really well, which was a big thing Ms. Gomez expected of us. When we would have small group discussions, the students were always willing to ask questions and share their reactions to the material. I really enjoyed how some of the topics we discussed illuminated new concepts to the students, even though it was stuff they might have experienced in their real lives but never put it into words or connected it to bigger systems.
Working with my peers from UCSD was a beautiful experience. Getting to connect with each other and carpool together made us very close. I really loved and looked forward to watching my friends present when we each had our different days to teach the high schoolers.
Reflection (Britney Munoz Arriaza):
- I genuinely enjoyed working with Ms. Gomez, it was very affirming to see the relationship she fostered between her and her students. It was very organic and you can tell they respected her. As a first gen who’s first language was Spanish- it overall made me more reflective on the career path I want to go down and if I were to go into teaching, the type of bond I would like to personally foster with my students.
- I also enjoyed seeing the high school students interact with one another. They were all such an intelligent group of students. I wanna say one of my favorite memories from working in the classroom was when I worked in a group setting with the students and we were discussing this little pie graph we made that obtained our identities. There was a young student, who was Puerto Rican and identified as Black, I really enjoyed hearing her talk about intersectional identities at such a young age, she was a sophomore. It gave me a lot of hope in our generation and in upcoming generations. It’s such a lively process, working with the youth and hearing different perspectives from different upbringings.
The role of Oral History in Ethnic Studies curriculums:
As we went on in the quarter I have gained a better understanding of the significance of oral histories, and appreciate it in a way I have never considered before. Oral History is a way of personalizing history, by making it more tangible rather than making it seem like some far off time that is irrelevant to contemporary times, and thus also irrelevant for students. In a presentation I watched of the teachers in a masters of teaching program in SDSU, they showed us a great comparison between two pieces of text, that honestly allowed me to understand how significant oral histories are. One of the teachers presented the first text and asked us to read it. It had bullet points about a girl with information like the her school, age, and background. Then she showed us a text excerpt of the girl introducing herself in her own words. The excerpt of what the girl had said was so much richer, even though it contained the same information, it added so much more character, humanity and personality to the initial information presented to us. I can only imagine how much more lively it would be to hear her tone of voice, or see her facial expressions. I think it is truly the future of history now that we can document and preserve the stories of people electronically. It is also very accessible, as anyone can reach the internet in public places like schools and libraries. It is also accessible in a sense that everyday people can have the plateform to share their unique stories via the use of technology. It is on the rise and we can see through the popularization of free podcasts, youtube videos, and the upcoming of oral hisotries databases. It’s exciting to see that oral histories will be implemented in the ethnic studies and history curriculum in grade school, and I think it will be the best way to engage students in the lessons being taught.
In Ms. Gomez’ class we would choose one oral history from the ROPH website for each class and deep dive on the broader topic discussed in their oral history/ interview. She provided transcripts for us and we would all do a close read together with students.