By Kimberly R. Nario
Hey y’all. Here’s your reminder that it is Filipino American History Month. Before we jet off to festivals and celebrations, I have to say–I had a lot of feelings when I saw this.
My grandma was a teacher in the Philippines, only giving up her career to come to the States and help raise me. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Philippines and even luckier to meet some of her former students. It was clear she made an impact on them, as even in their later years they remembered her fondly. All that to say, this post made me feel incredibly sad–and angry.
I grew up in Virginia Beach, and I went to Salem Middle School, the one mentioned in the post. Filipinos and Filipino Americans are a vital part of the greater Hampton Roads community–and this country. So xenophobic-lite comments about language barriers can go straight to the trashcan. Let’s all take a moment to remind ourselves that this program was already in use 20 years ago. And why do we even have a teacher shortage in Virginia? Could it be because of the low salaries or because conservatives are constantly trying to interfere with our public school system?
We should consider ourselves lucky that students get to learn from people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. I know some people don’t get the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but I assure anyone with concern–it’s not a scary concept, and it won’t hurt anyone.
I’ve got one thing to say to anyone who takes issue with Filipinos teaching in Virginia schools: STFU.
P.S. Feel free to let me know if I should spell that out–on account of a language barrier.P.P.S. Seriously though, pay teachers and don’t be racist.