Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Pretty (well-deserved) Piece of Paper (and expensive, too)

It’s official—after two years of non-stop work, I have earned my master’s degree (I sometimes catch myself tearing up, it makes me so proud).  My degree really does fit me to a T, being Curriculum and Instruction—Children’s Literature.  I never thought a semester could touch me as much as my last semester of grad school.  I decided to take one of the newer courses offered through Penn State, Cultural Pluralism in Children’s and Young Adult Literature…in one word, wow!  The topics we covered, the scholars in the field we read, and the books were all amazing (and yes, several made me cry).  One of my favorite quotes from the class comes from Pat Mora’s “Confessions of a Latina Author”-- “Images matter.  Words Matter.  Visibility matters” (1998, p. 281). 
I never realized how much my mother prepared me to be in a class that discusses diversity, applications for the classroom, and acceptance of others until this past semester.  In fact, I was quite shocked when I found out how some of my other classmates weren’t that comfortable using multicultural literature in the classroom.  For my openness and desire, I thank my mom deeply.
I don’t even think I can really begin to explain how much this class met to me.  You see, my master’s paper is about “Engaging Readers in Identifying Culturally Authentic American Indian Picturebook Folklore.”  Even working on the paper has changed me—it has ignited a fire in me to learn more about American Indian culture and about students learning to take control of their reading through active and critical literacy skills.  There are so many ways to empower a student, a teacher just needs to make it his/her goal to find out what works.
And of course since I’m addicted to learning, I’ve decided to continue at Penn state to earn a certificate in Educational Technology Integration—unbeknownst to many, I am quite the tech geek.  I really loved the first class that I took for the certificate program.  Who knows…maybe I will even choose Penn State for my doctoral program…What?! You didn’t really think I was stopping after I earned my master’s, did you? ;)

Mora, P. Confessions of a Latina Author. Alternative Library Literature 1998-1999: a Biennial Anthology. Berman, S. and J. Danky. eds. New York. ORYX Press. 2000. pp. 193-204.

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