Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo and other things

I think a lot about how to introduce holidays in my room. I LOVE celebrating and learning about different traditions and sharing those with my students. On the other hand, I don't want to err on the side of Heroes and Holidays and inundate my students with stereotypical images. I also don't want to limit the importance of, say, Black History Month to only one month. Students should be seeing images of African Americans and hearing stories about African Americans and other brown and black people ALL YEAR LONG. I want to do this better next year--to have more texts reflecting the racial and cultural makeup of my classroom throughout the year. I try to do this, but could do much better at it.
So, Cinco de Mayo is a tricky one for me. I didn't even address it with my class this year, though I will most likely talk about it tomorrow. Cinco de Mayo is fun and a way to celebrate Mexican/Latino culture, and is important for my students to know about and recognize, but I don't want to stereotype their own heritage for them. I hope that makes sense... Cinco de Mayo is a holiday largely celebrated in the United States (NOT in most of Mexico) and I feel that though the premise of it is quite important (kind of a si se puede! idea...May 5th, 1982, the Mexicans defeated the French in what is now known as The Day of The Battle of Puebla. It is significant because the French army was double the size of the Mexican army, but still they prevailed. ANYWAY, I say all this because it seems this has gotten lost in the parading around wearing sombreros, eating burritos, and drinking gallons of Mexican beer to celebrate. I realize I have perhaps drank a little too much haterade, but when it comes to teaching my students, I want to be sure they get the whole picture and understand what each holiday is about and that I expose them to many holidays without giving them a stereotypical vision of any group of people.
WHEW, it's tricky!
P.S. I did celebrate Cinco de Mayo by drinking beer and eating tacos and tamales and all things Mexican---but really, how is that different than any other Saturday? ;) Pues, hasta luego..

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