“So What Do They Call You in School?”

images

Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvati, Satyanarayan. These are beautiful traditional Hindu  Indian names that, admittedly, are very difficult to say. As a result, a lot of us have English nicknames like Sunny, Sid, Fred, and Mo, even when these nicknames are no where near our actual names (trust me, there’s no Indian name that remotely sounds like Fred, and yet, that’s my father’s American name. Seriously.).

If you are someone who can’t say our names, don’t worry, we don’t fault you for this. We fully recognize a lot of these syllables are not in your vernacular. But we do fault those of you who don’t try or care that you are saying it wrong. These names may seem like crazy names with random letters that don’t belong next to each other, but they are beautiful names  that represent our religion, culture, heritage, and most of all, our identities.

Take my name for example, Avanti (English pronunciation: uh-van-tea. Actual pronunciation: Uh-Vun-Thee). I can’t tell you how many times an extra uh-van-TAY was added to my name, or Avani, not minding the T. Or the worst, E-VON-TAY. And that’s ok, trust me, I’m so used to it. I, like many other Indian people, have come to accept my English pronunciation and now introduce myself using this name to everyone except other Indian people. Why not just help people say my Indian pronunciation? Because it takes forever and it’s still said wrong. It’s just easier to accept defeat sometimes. And a lot of times I will get “oh wow, can you repeat that, that’s beautiful,” or “Ok. I’m just going to call you Avi.”

But what bothers me is when people just don’t care to say it correctly. No question, just assumptions. It puts me in a tough spot because while I want to be called my name correctly (at least in part), I almost feel bad inconveniencing someone into saying a name that is so complicated.

So, about a month ago I had decided I had had it. Every time someone said my name wrong, I corrected them. Seems like no big deal right? You’d think so. People actually minded. Someone actually said to me, “oh yeah, I can’t say that. It’s not in my vernacular.” I thought of saying to her that it was her vernacular that renamed me this heinous name to begin with.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but this brings us to the underlying issue that has swept the nation.

Ignorance.

Recently I saw a video on Food Network where Carla Hall dressed up as an Indian person for Halloween and it really upset me.

Indian is not a costume. It is who I am. I know if I dressed up as her race it would be politically incorrect, so why is there a double standard here?

It’s absolutely inexcusable. My parents came here in the 70’s because they knew America had become the melting pot of opportunities. It’s been over 40 years since they’ve arrived and the amount that people have learned about Indian culture is probably about the same. It seems like no body cares that we are here and what we stand for, even though almost everyone knows of at least one Indian person. Knowledge about our heritage and culture is learned from watching Bollywood movies on Netflix and Slumdog Millionaire instead of from actual Indian people. Because it’s so much easier to be ignorant and pretend all you know about us is what you see on t.v. and then think it’s ok to come up to us and ask if we eat curry and break out into song and dance every 10 minutes. (I know this isn’t everyone, as I have many wonderful friends who take a great interest in my heritage, but the frequency with which I am asked ignorant questions like these is astounding.)

We are not aliens! We have been in this country for generations now. We are as American as you are; which is why we all have incredibly good English, (so, please, stop acting surprised).

Because you know what’s on the other side of this ignorance? Completely innocent people, like Srinivas Kuchibhotla, being gunned down by a 51 year old man telling him to “get out of his country.” Little did he know, this was Srinvas’ country. It’s time for us all to open our eyes and our minds and learn a little something about our different neighbors before it’s too late.

This country’s not just black and white anymore. We are brown, yellow, green, purple, turquoise, and all of the above at the same time. America is a beautiful melting pot but ignorance is poisoning it, and now it’s just spoiled soup. There is still time to fix it though. A soup that’s too salty can always be fixed by diluting it. Dilute this world with understanding and love instead of indifference and we can have the beautiful America my parents came for 40 years ago.

7 Reasons Why You Want to Teach

ab7d6a02ab895ff5367598d3a0efeddb

I would never argue that teaching is the easiest job in the world. In fact, I believe it is one of the most difficult jobs out there. It is also the most wonderful, rewarding, and exciting jobs possible. Which is why I can’t believe it has a terrible reputation.

But that reason is plain and simple: other teachers.

I remember the summer before I started my first year, one of my mentors told me stay away from the older teachers that have been here too long. They have a negative view of this job and will bring you down. Don’t let them dim your enthusiasm! I have stayed true to this and I believe I still sparkle in the classroom! I currently teach Algebra II at inter-ciy, urban school. I am coming up on my third year on the job and I love it. Sure, there are many tough days but what job doesn’t have tough days!

Today I read on article from Huffington Post by Melissa Bowers, a former 12-year English teacher: 7 Reasons You May Not Want to Teach Anymore and I have to say, it broke my heart. Not because someone had this opinion of teaching, but because they were actively publicizing how awful this job is. It’s articles like this that turn off younger, passionate, enthusiastic potential teachers from ever considering teaching as a profession. I have expressed my love for this job to so many people and the vast majority of them are shocked that I love it so much. Shocked! Can you believe that? A job that I pour my heart and soul into and they are shocked that I love it.

The reality is, if you poorly run your classroom, your students, lower your expectations of your students and yourself, want to take the easy way out and not put any effort into your lessons, and fail to adapt to changing times, yes, teaching is going to be awful for you. But if you are willing to adapt and grow with your kids, give them high expectations and hold them accountable, there is truly no better job.

First, let’s get the obvious reason that Bowers doesn’t discuss out of the way: below average salary. For the record, teachers do not have a below average salary. In fact, for my town my salary is above average! Of course I feel like teachers should get paid more than what we get. We are the epitome of under paid and over worked. But that does not mean we get paid poorly. It just means we probably should get paid more. Who isn’t in a job where they feel like they don’t get paid enough?

Now on to her list:

1. You are an “authority figure” with no real authority.

Bowers argues that in your classroom you are not really an authority figure. You are actually run by the parents, school board, and state or national standards and students can sense it. Sure, I can see how you really work for these people and what you do can be dictated by them, but only if you let them! Of course you have to abide by state standards. All jobs have directives from their bosses! Even CEOs have to be conscious of what their market needs which drives what they do. Parents can be a boss, or they can be an asset. If your child is struggling, it is certainly the job of the teacher to hold their students accountable by reaching out to the parent and keeping them in the loop of their child’s performance. And if you fail to do so, obviously that parent is going to try to run you. You are not doing your job! As far as the school board, other than funding the schools and responding to concerns, I have never felt personally “run” by the school board.

Here’s the truth: run your classroom properly and you are definitely the one and only authority figure that students will see. If you improperly run your classroom, students can sense it! Students know when you are only there for a paycheck or if you truly care about them. That’s the only thing that would ever drive a student to say something like “you know, my father pays your salary.” As for me, my students sense it day in and day out how much I love being their teacher. I once had the school secretary call me about something to do with compensation for tutoring after school. My class overheard me saying the word “paycheck” and they literally gasped. It was as if my students forgot that I get paid to do this job. I have to admit, that was one of the proudest moments of my career thus far.

2. Your day does not resemble that of a typical white-collar professional.

And that is so fantastic!!! I get to work super early but that means I get to go home at 3pm when no one is out yet. I go grocery shopping, go to the mall, schedule my doctor’s appointments and get first dibs on everything!

Here are some specific things she says a typical job can do but teachers can’t:

1. Pee- Sure I may not get to pee whenever I need to, but that’s so easy, I call in my neighboring teacher to watch my class for a split second and run. Honestly, I don’t want a job where I have all the free time to run to the bathroom whenever I want. I like that I keep busy and half the time I forget I need to pee anyways.
2. Get coffee- Again, all the free time in the world at work to go get coffee? I get off at 3 anyways. I go home and make coffee!
3. Spend fifteen minutes chatting leisurely with a colleague- 15 minutes? Try 90 minutes every day for planning. I plan effectively and spend most planning periods relaxing, talking to my work wife the Geometry teacher while we make our copies.
4. Go out to lunch- Yes, the 25 minutes for lunch as opposed to the 1 hour sucks, but you get used to it and most days I can’t wait to get back in the classroom to continue my lesson.
5. Complete paperwork and other job-related tasks during the actual work day- again, effective time management is essential.
6. Sit down occasionally- But I get my steps in!!! My FitBit loves this! Seriously, teaching has so many health benefits!

3. Everyone thinks they know how to do your job. EVERYONE.

Yep- this one is true. Everyone at some point has taught something, learned something, and/or gone to school so everyone thinks they know how to teach. But here’s my question- WHO CARES?!?! It doesn’t mean you have to listen to them! At the end of the day it is your classroom, your lesson, your kids. No one else has the authority to teach them but you. It’s like being a first time mom. Everyone wants to give you advice. Whether or not you take it is up to you. Sure it can get extremely annoying especially when you feel like they’ve never been a mother before and have no right to give you advice. But that’s just the nature of the beast.

4. You wanted to foster imagination, not slaughter it.

It’s true, there is a huge pressure for teachers to teach to the test. I remember my first year, I had so many ideas on how students can learn different topics and I had so much pressure to focus on the test. I remember playing math games with my kids and actually being told we don’t have time for fun and games, focus on the material, give them worksheets, quizzes, and notes. Nothing else.

Well, this year I totally changed things up. I focus on the material I am required to, but we play lots of games every day, we have mini-projects, class experiments, and group competitions. My kids love coming into my classroom because they know their limits will be tested and they will have fun. Yes there are ways to “slaughter” imagination: take the easy way out and only give your kids notes, worksheets, and tests. I spend hours upon hours to create lessons that will challenge the way my students look at math, but at the end of the day, I know that what I am doing is best for my kids.

And in case you’re curious, my test scores ROCK!

5. The technology obsession is making you CRAZY.

CRAZY IN LOVE!!! Honestly, Bowers make me really mad in this portion of her article. Especially when she argues this generation doesn’t need any more technology, especially when they are using their cell phones in your class already and the technology is more a distraction than a learning tool.

Here is the reality: you need to meet your students where they are at. The fact that they have “enough technology” is the reason why you need to integrate it in the classroom. This is how they are used to functioning in their every day lives, so of course they would learn better if it was involved in their learning as well.

This generation does not learn the way you and I learned. Notes on the chalkboard, worksheets afterwards, tests and quizzes don’t cut it anymore. All of my kids have some form of ADD… heck! I have ADHD!

Technology can be the best thing to keep your students engaged in your lessons Bowers makes it sound like the only technology out there is a cell phone. WRONG! There are SMART board, SMART Response clickers, and oh so much more!  I even have a class Instagram, Twitter, and LiveBinder so my kids can keep track of the class at home!

The beauty of math is that it’s not stationary; it is all around us which means it should be interactive! No matter how hard I try, I can’t put that on the whiteboard. This is why technology is so crucial for this day and age.

I completely agree that cell phones are a huge distraction in the classroom. That’s why I collect every single cell phone when they walk into the classroom so they’re not tempted to use them. And most importantly, if your students are using their phones in the classroom while you’re teaching, you did not plan an engaging lesson. Yes, I’m blaming you! Even on the rare occasion that I forget to collect cell phones, my kids are not on them.

Bowers admits that technology is wonderful but not necessary. I have never felt like it was mandatory for me to use technology in my classroom, but I definitely see it as a necessity!

6. All the entitlement and the trophies and the apathy and whatever.

I know, this generation is full of kids that feel incredibly entitled. But how can you base your love for the job on the students that you teach? Not all students are entitled, and not all students are wonderful. But I promise, there are some incredible and talented students that deserve a quality education. Just because they are surrounded by entitled, disruptive, disrespectful peers doesn’t take away from the education they deserve.

7. There is no reliable way to assess who is ACTUALLY good at this.

I’m not sure why this is a reason to not want to be a teacher. If you know you’re great, your students know you’re awesome, student assessments are wonderful, that shows how effective your teaching is. I know that I am one of the best teachers, I feel that in my heart! I don’t need any administrators telling me that I’m good at it.

I will agree though, that one of the toughest parts about this job is how much it relies on student test scores and assessments.I agree that we can’t control our student’s unexpected circumstances such as how much sleep they got or their breakup the other day, however, in my experience, my students’ test scores have been pretty accurate to their academic performance and potential + 5%. I very rarely have a student not pass the standardize test that doesn’t deserve it.

This job is really about the kids, the immeasurable impact you have on their lives. This job can be hell sometimes. The insane about of work administration wants you to do at the last minute, paperwork the state brings down on you for almost no reason, lesson plan after lesson plan after lesson plan. It can be draining, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

If you are an older, tired teacher, I urge you, please stop talking about how much you hate this job! If you hate it that much, QUIT! Move over so the next new teacher with the energy and enthusiasm to shape our future can come in. I truly believe no other profession shapes the future of this county and this world the way teachers do. That is both a privilege and an honor, but definitely not a burden.

 

Love Thyself

Today I went to a Mexican-Korean-American fusion taco bar by myself to watch the Redskins game in a cute black redskins shirt, black and white rainboosts from Nordstrom, long silver necklace from The Limited (basically I looked adorable), reading my book during the commercials and eating my single chicken taco while drinking a Crispin cider, when I realized I have found myself. Not in the sense that it was in that moment I finally realize this; just that I realized I have finally become the woman I have always wanted to become.

I am a woman that values education. I pride myself in being a role model for my students. I dress conservatively enough to demand respect, but still know how to dress in a stylish manner. I like to believe i have influenced many of my students to change the way they dress. I like to show them that there are other things that you can do in your free time other than smoke drugs and the other poor decisions they make on a daily basis, like pick up an awesome book.

I am a nerd at heart. I love to read anything, write to my hearts content, and create equations with every day life and then solve them. I like to teach my boyfriend math at bars and write him mathematical equation love letters and then teach him how to solve them.

I have an appreciate for fashion. Not the kind of fashion that costs thousands of dollars, but more affordable fashion that I wouldn’t feel guilty about spilling mustard on, because I am the type of woman that does that on a regular basis. I have also finally found my financial independence to afford these luxuries (even though my sweatshirt was stolen from my sister’s closet. I am a woman with no shame!)

I have a great appreciation for football. Not just as a testament for my fondness for the sport, but mostly because I am a woman who takes great pride in where she is from. I have lived in the DMV my entire life which is why I am a die-hard Redskins fan. And I will get into a bar fight with anyone who calls them “dead-skins” or “bloody-skins” as the man did today at my Mexican-Korean-American taco bar. (As I said, I am a woman with no shame).

I am a woman who has a strong devotion to her family and friends. I have some incredible friends and choose to be close to people very selectively. I am, afterall, a Scoprio; trust is everything. Do me wrong once and you are forever dead in my book. But it has taken me a long time to realize that my best friend of all who understands me the best and accepts me for who I am no more no less is myself.

I have reached a point in my life where I have looked around and realized how adorable I must look, but my first thought had always been “I wish (so-and-so) were here to see how cute I look right now! I wonder what they’d think!” But today, I just smiled. Because for the first time I realized I didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion. I love myself and mine is the only opinion that matter.

The Trump Card

donald_trump_108984675_1

Let me start out by first saying I do not support Donald Trump for president. He has no political experience to be running a country. Plain and simple.

But I fully support what he stands for and his use of the political system.

Donald Trump has serious feelings about what is wrong with this country and has no issue standing up in front of the entire country and making these issues known. He has made a plethora of inappropriate comments and does not apologize for it once (sure, some of his comments he should apologize for. Poor Rosie O’Donnell didn’t even do anything… and Megyn was just standing up for all women). How many politicians have had something they’ve said been twisted? Donald Trump is the first time I have ever seen someone say, “no, I didn’t say that. Who would say something like that? You would have to be disgusting to think something like that” and pointed out how everyone knows the media manipulates everything anybody ever says for their own political agenda. Trump is a real person who isn’t afraid to say what the average American believes.

At the GOP debate, when candidates made an oath not to run as an Independent if they do not receive the Republican Party’s nomination, Trump was the only one to raise his hand. Was he the only one who wanted to? Maybe… but maybe not. How many of those candidates can honestly say they would rather not be president at all than not get the nomination and run? I’m willing to bed the majority of candidates want to be president so badly because they want to change America in so many ways they are willing to go to any length to do so. Any candidate who does not want to be president this badly is not someone I want to be my president. Sure, there is something to be said about Republican Party loyalties. But if you care about impacting this country, nothing should stand in your way.

We don’t have to look through red-white-and-blue-glasses anymore. Trump isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. And that is extremely refreshing. Even though Trump will (most likely) not win the election, I think there is something positive Americans can learn from him. If you believe in something strong enough, go out and change it, no matter what the cost may be. Donald Trump has committed Republican party suicide by going against FOX news and as a result the majority of Republican voters, but he isn’t afraid of standing up for himself and what he believes in.

That is inspirational.

Every Teacher’s Nightmare

I just finished arguably one of the worst days of my teaching career thus far. Fist fight in front of your classroom? Nope. Get your speakers stolen? Not this time. Cursed out by your students? Although all of those things have happened to me over the past year, this was much worse.

Today was the day of my first standardized test administration.

Before I continue, this is not just another rant by a teacher about how much standardized testing sucks. Believe it or not, I am actually pro-standardized testing. I think it’s important to make sure all students receive the same level of education and baseline rigor across the state so that they are well equipped when they attend universities and are ready for whatever career they peruse. I have always been for standardized testing. Rather, I am pro the idea behind standardized testing. As the way these students are assessed can be highly flawed. One size fits all doesn’t work for curriculum, how can it possibly work for assessments?

At my school, students are tested at least 20 times before the end of the year, not including teacher created formative and summative assessments. These tests then dictate how much money a school gets amongst other things. By the time my students take my end of the year exam, they are exhausted to say the least. But they have no time for a nap, as my school is so heavily focused on passing these exams.

Today started off just as I had expected. My students came in fresh, fed, and ready to take their test. We have been working very hard this whole year and especially over the past month getting ready for our SOL. I have had students who have taken the initiative to come to my classroom every single period in an effort to pass my upcoming exam. These students are here Saturday mornings and even Fridays until 6:30 after school studying for this exam. I have students who have convinced themselves that they’re going to get pass advanced if not a perfect score. I also had students who were convinced they were not going to pass and they were riding on the confidence that I had for them. My students knew the incentives: pass the exam, get a cupcake and an A in the class, or fail it and study for the next month for re-takes at the end of the school year.

So we traveled down to the other side of the school to a freezing cold computer lab with an odd, sticky smell and my students took a seat in front of their designated computer. They were each given a sheet with login information and then proceeded to wait for 15 minutes while the computer software loaded because not only was everyone in the room trying to access the same website at the same time, so was everyone in the state of Virginia.

I proceeded with the instructions for starting the exam. The two sample questions to practice using the software were done with ease and even enthusiasm. My kids were so ready to ace this exam! It was truly a teacher’s dream to administer a test to students like these.

And then they clicked “next” to answer the first question, and I could feel the energy in the room drop 6 levels. The first question was ridiculous. As was the second, third wasn’t so bad, but the fourth, fifth, sixth, and, you get the idea. This test was absolutely nothing like the test from the past 2 years. In fact, it was about as difficult as the test from the past 2 years combined times 2. It was unnecessarily difficult and in no way could test their comprehension of subject material. For legal reasons I cannot discuss the content of the questions, but let’s just say I wasn’t able to figure out how to solve some of these questions. Later I realized that they were probably “field questions.”

Our exam consists of 60 questions and of them are 10 “field questions.” I had always assumed these questions to be ones that were just a tad bit more difficult or tested a couple of topics together in an effort to gather data on our students to see what topics need more coverage. After seeing some of these questions, it’s hard to see what the purpose of these questions is. I can see no usable data that could be gathered from having students do these questions. In fact, the only purpose they served my students was completely destroying their confidence and sucking valuable time concentrating on how to solve a  poorly worded problem only slightly attached to a concept they know very well, one in which they would have no idea how to even begin.

Field questions aside, the actual questions that were asked were asked in such a way that would confuse any one and hardly tested the subject matter, but rather how well they could use their calculator. Other questions were worded so poorly it was hard to decipher what the question was even asking. Sure, my students were ready for an end of course exam, but they were not ready for whatever that exam was. They began their exam at 8am. By 1pm, one hour before school is over, not a single student had finished. By the end of the day out of my 15 students, only 4 passed.

Halfway through the examination, one of the assistant principals walked in. After I told him how ridiculous this exam was and he could see how visibly upset I was, he told me that the first round of exams is always difficult and the re-takes at the end of the year are much easier. 

This really struck a chord with me because it made absolutely no logical sense what so ever. How does the state benefit from giving one extremely difficult test and then one easier test a month later? Why not simply give a fair test both times?

And that’s when I thought back to those 15 minutes my students had to wait for their test to load. That tiny logo in the bottom corner…

When I first saw this logo, I thought back to a video I recently watched by John Oliver about standardized testing. (If you haven’t seen it, it is a great video and can be found here.) When I first saw this video, I thought there’s no way he’s talking about Virginia though. The VDOE is great about making their own curriculum framework, pacing guide, enhanced scope and sequences, sample lesson plans, student performance analysis, etc. Why would they take their time to make resources such as these and then not even create the assessment for it?

But that’s exactly what they do. They create the curriculum for teachers to use in their classrooms, and then send all of this material to a private company to create their final assessment to see how well we’ve done. The inexplicable logic is that a big business can create a comprehensive exam better than they could. But the issue is when you privatize standardized exams, it becomes that much less about the students than it does about building a business.

So what is the advantage for Pearson to provide an extremely difficult exam at first and then an easier one in the end? You guessed it, MONEY! By creating a very challenging exam, school are forced to register more students for a re-take than they would have initially, there by basically doubling how much money Pearson would have made if they simply gave the easier exam first. But by making the second exam easier, they still show their “effectiveness” of making an exam since enough kids will pass.

What’s the big deal though as long as the students pass in the end, you ask?

My student who worked so hard to pass advance has to work twice as hard on this exam. (In case you were wondering, she did not pass advance. In fact, she barely passed.) If only she knew that she shouldn’t have wasted 6 hours on this exam, but to take fail it and take it the second time. That would be the only way she could pass advanced.

My students who have worked day and night studying for this exam, staying after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday mornings have worked towards a basically impossible goal and their spirit is now completely broken. Their “can-do” attitudes will now become “what’s-the-point” attitudes.

Some of my students feel that have failed them, and I can’t help but feel that I have failed them as well. No matter the level of rigor that I have integrated into my lesson plans, it never matched how rigorous those questions were. I should have seen it coming, I should have prepared them more. And even though deep down I know that it’s not actually true, on some level I believe it but worst of all, they do. How am I supposed to help them pass the next exam when they trust me that much less?

Seniors who need to pass this exam in order to graduate have one more thing to worry about instead of simply enjoying their time before graduation.

Not to mention I’m going to get a thorough chewing out for my students “not studying enough” or “not focusing enough” or me “not planning enough,” none of which are true and couldn’t have happened any more. Some of my students that studied extremely hard and focused the entire time did not pass, meanwhile students who slept all year long, hardly studied, and kept dozing in and out of sleep, somehow passed the exam. Needless to say, this was a completely inaccurate assessment.

So I amend my previous opinion of standardized testing. I am still pro-standardized testing but instead of taking short cuts and getting lazy, states should create their own exams and give a fair assessment driven by student success, and not money or building up big businesses. After all, education is about students and building our future, a concept I am afraid this country is getting farther and farther away from… and although it is an entirely different issue on it’s own, is truly the center of this problem and many, many more.

To the B In Apartment 324

“To apt 3225,

I have been VERY nice over the past 7-8 months not to report you to the leasing office. I hear you vacuuming your apartment at least 2-3 times per week after the hours of 9pm and one time even at 2am!! As your neighbor, it has GOT to stop! You need to vacuum your apartment earlier in the day. This is your final warning before I report you to the leasing office.

-Your AGITATED neighbor.

To the B in apartment 324,

If you had handled this like a mature adult, I would apologize and say it will not happen again, as I had no idea the walls across the hall were so thin that you could hear my vacuum. But since that is not what you did, here you go:

I am in shock that you find yourself to be a “nice person” after writing this passivr agreasive note. But, I feel so sorry for you that you feel that all people are so inherently evil as you are that you think someone would turn on their vacuum with the intention of disturbing their neighbors. I would imagine this is what you thought, since you at no point over the past SEVEN OR EIGHT MONTHS you mentioned anything to me about how you can hear my vacuuming.

First of all, that is so sad that you have nothing else better to do than to keep track of when your neighbors are vacuuming. Yes, I probably vacuumed at 2am. Some nights I come home after drinking with friends and realize that I still need to clean my cat’s litter so I need to vacuum as well. You probably have no idea what that feels like since you clearly have no friends, or a life for that matter.

Second of all, if you expect to live somewhere where you can’t hear your neighbors, I suggest you not live in an APARTMENT building. Your dog yapping throughout the day is half of the reason why I’m moving to my house. As a side note, I am in shock that someone with an annoying ass dog such as yours has the audacity to write this note in the first place. Although, it now completely makes sense how your dog came to be so poorly trained in the first place. I actually feel more sorry for your dog than I do you.

Lastly, who are you to give me a “FINAL NOTICE”? If you live in a building with a leasing office, I would have much rather you go through them and “file your complaint.” Why? Because they know how to handle adult situations which is somewhere you clearly lack. This is my apartment and I will do as I please. Who do you think you are to give me warnings or a final warning?

Let this be a lesson to you, you fresh out of college entitled brat. In the future handle your issues like a grown adult and maybe people will hear you out. In the meantime, I’ll just vacuum my place first thing in the morning at 5:30am. I hope that early enough for you. If not, well, I won’t be here 7 months from now which is apparently how long it takes you to handle your aggression.

Your friendly neighbor,
Apt 325

Fresh of the Yact

Has anyone seen the new show “Fresh Off the Boat?” I have to say when I first saw the commercial for this show with my friend Lauren I was so excited. I couldn’t believe they were making a show about my childhood! If you haven’t heard of this show, it’s based on a memoir by chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his life as a first generation Asian-American growing up in the states with traditional Asian parents.

Well, boyfriend and I finally watched it yesterday and I have to say I am thoroughly disappointed.

The beginning of the first episode starts off completely accurate. When Eddie Huang comes home asking for “white people food” after being laughed at in the school cafeteria for “eating worms,” it took my back to my middle school days when my mom packed me Indian food and the kids at school stared at me with a disgusted face and said “EWWWW WHAT IS THAT???” (kids can be so cruel). Every time there after when my mom tried to pack me Indian food I would beg her for anything else. I was subjected to peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the remainder of my middle school career.

And then there was the reference to the difference between how grades are viewed between American and Asian parents. This is a source of so much comedy with any Asian comedian.

So when the white kid next door brings home straight C’s and is rewarded with a basketball hoop and Eddie Huang brings home straight A’s and is rewarded with even more school work, it was nothing I hadn’t expected.

And of course there are tons of hilarious jokes about how cheap Asian mothers are. All funny and true (to some extent).

But it was what followed in the second half of each episode that will probably stop me from watching this show. After Eddie skips out on his mother while she is trying to make him do additional school work, his dad and him have a heart to heart about how he doesn’t get to have any fun. This scene ends with Eddie and his dad playing basketball and his mother sending Eddie’s other two brothers to stop studying and join them.

There are so many things wrong with this scene I don’t even know where to begin. First and foremost, every Asian kid knows better than to complain about doing work and that they don’t have fun. Sure, it’s a thought that crossed all of our minds as children; while everyone else was at a boy-girl party we had to be locked in our rooms studying, and if there was no homework to be done, we were trapped with our fathers learning the next topic in math. And you were especially out of luck if you brought home your math book because my dad had no problem making me do the even problems that were never assigned to me. Did I ever once ask my dad if I could hang out with friends instead? Absolutely not. I don’t need an addition 100 problems. Did it ever cross my mind? You bet. Everyday. What would have happened if I ran away the way Eddie did? I wouldn’t want that punishment.

And then there’s Eddie’s little brother who has two girlfriends and his dad says something to the effect of “you go boy, just don’t tell mom.” That would never, ever, happen. Not in a million years. Unless the other two girls were also Korean. If it was Eddie’s sister, she would be dead.

And then there’s Eddie’s mother who tries to fit in with the American neighbors. I have never met an Indian lady trying to fit in with her American neighbors. Immigrants FLOCK, like CRAZY. It’s a little shocking really how they find each other. I grew up in a small part of Maryland where you wouldn’t think a single Indian existed. But they were there. My mom may have had to drive 20 minutes away, but she found people. That’s what they do. They don’t try to “fit in” with the neighbors (unless they are also Indian).

So why does ABC change the stories around so much? The reality is this: the truth wouldn’t make good t.v. In fact, it would depress half of you, and the other half would just be bored. It would be the same ending everyday; Eddie studying. The only episodes that would be entertaining would be when Eddie tried to defy his parents, but there is absolutely nothing funny about those situations. This show is completely Americanized to make good t.v. and to entertain the American populus this show is geared towards. In fact, even when the press were given an opportunity to question the directors and cast members, they hardly asked any questions about the show and instead asked them about fortune cookies and chopsticks. I recently found out that Eddie Huang too has an issue with this portrayal of his memoir; “The network tried to turn my memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot for America. I hated that.” (read the full article HERE).

Sons and daughters of immigrant parents did not leave glamorous lives or funny ones. We had to live our lives up to our parents standards, living by their rules, and face the harsh consequences when we don’t. Most of us were forced to become doctors, lawyers, or engineers and then go on to marrying someone of our own race. Everything must be approved by our parents, and most of our lives are arranged by our parents. We have to go to college, we have to be number 1 in our class, we have to get straight A’s. We hardly had fun outside of school except with our other Asian friends. We weren’t allowed to hang out with anyone of the opposite sex, never the less have a boyfriend, except for the rare situation where said boyfriend/girlfriend was also Asian and extremely smart. Education was our life and there was little we were allowed to do outside of that.

But the thing is, our parents are completely and totally justified in acting like this. They really did come to America to live the American dream. My father came to America in his early 20s and worked as a chicken farmer until he was able to save enough money to bring my mother to America and eventually build a beautiful life for me so that I could have endless opportunities; opportunities that he did not have growing up in India. He left all of his family and friends behind to build a new life here.

That is one thing that really bothers me about this show (among so many other things); this show keeps talking about how his parents “miss their friends in Washington D.C” completely ignoring that his parents came from Korea! That’s where his family and friends are that he truly left behind. Not another part of America! My parents moved around America 4 or 5 times since they first arrived. Each time they made new friends, kept in touch even to this day, but it’s their friends in India that they consistently miss and talk about, not their friends in Alabama!

Now, I’m not denying this show is hilarious. I just finished watching the third episode and I have to admit it is a pretty hilarious show. What bothers me about it is that they try to play off this show as “the struggles the children of immigrants go through” and it’s just not true. So watch the show because Eddie Huang is at hilarious kid with a hilarious family. Just expect the accuracies to be kept to a minimum.