I graduated 13 days ago on May 13th. I graduated from a prestigious university here in Texas: Texas A&M University. A university that is ranked as one of the top public universities in the state, a university that taught me what it really means to be an American. Now, I have been in the United States for almost two decades and knew what it meant to be American long ago, long before I applied to college, long before my high school prom, long before middle school chaperoned dances, and long before I learned my ABC’s in English and not in Spanish.
But at A&M I was surrounded by boots, cowboy hats, big trucks, and “Howdy”. Now, let me retract a little – these things don’t fully nor correctly encompass what it means to be an American, but to me they are what it means to be a Texan, thus what it means to be an American. I am a Texan I wear boots, and go to the rodeo, and I secretly wish to own a big truck one day.
The lone star state is all I know, and all that I am loyal to, but I digress. I graduated less than two weeks ago with a Bachelors of Art in English Literature and an incorporated minor in Interdisciplinary Studies and another minor in Spanish. My ultimate goal: to teach 7th grade language arts at my old middle school where the kids needed some inspiration and encouragement to keep going, someone that came out of their hood and made it. Someone to show them that they can.
I am fully aware of the current teacher and budget cuts, and the fact that even with my undocumented self I still probably would have a lot of trouble getting a job. But right now they’re closing doors without even getting to know me. They don’t care that I am an Aggie, and that my alma mater is known for training the best teachers in the nation. They don’t care that I grew up in this school district and that I want to come back to it when many don’t even want to remember they came out of here. They don’t care that in my spare time I tutor (and often teach) the very kids they’re failing. They don’t care about my passion or my love for teaching. And they don’t care about the time and money I’ve invested in becoming an educated member of society.
All they care about is that I don’t have a social security number.
That’s all they care about.
Because at the end of the day it’s always about the adults and never about the kids. They don’t care that all I want to do is help build a better tomorrow by teaching our children, by teaching our tomorrow.
So, I am angry. I am angry because I always knew I would get my degree, but I didn’t realize how nasty it was going to feel when I had that degree that states I am capable, and can’t use it. The only way something will change is if the D.R.E.A.M. Act passes, so I urge everyone to support the D.R.E.A.M. Act and call your senators and representatives.
My degree has just started to gather dust there in it’s frame, hanging on the empty walls, waiting for more decorations of things in frames that record our lives happening, but nothing can happen right now if I’m not allowed to move forward with my education.
A very frustrated teacher