Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

To Tlaloc 2

"The writing is good..."

I had to stop her right there, completely missed the rest of her sentence. "I am so relieved to hear that. Thank you. I just want to take that in," I think it was a defining moment in my academic career. You never hear from her students the kind words she has to say.

A compliment from the woman that has no problem sending you and your; paper, article, grant, proposal, or dissertation to the writing center. Her eagle eye willing to read and chair dissertations that essentially are going to be well written, only. A critic, tough editor, but ultimately a writer that wrote with heart, and had a successful career doing so. An elder and in that a wisdom that has to be respected.

What is difficult I told a mentor and friend, "is agreeing on the content." She understood, offered the names of her colleagues in Florida, Colorado, that could speak to the experience of being in the field and Latina/o. In California I will be the 10th Latina/o (the data is not disaggregated) tenured track professor in my field. I might have to share it with my colleague from the program, but nonetheless we will be the 10th, once we clear ABD.

We write different, research different, perceive different: It takes something like courage to know that what feels intuitively racist or biased is. To look at the research critically and subtract it of its deficit laden language, understanding student performance has to do with context. Somedays, you have to wonder if it may not be easier to just enter the field as is, without the struggle.

Then you go to the local panaderia, drink your coffee and see a fieldtrip of little brown students marching in from the kitchen. You smile as you hear them speaking in Spanish about el Dia de Los Muertos and quickly lose interest in el pan del muerto when they see the resident fat cat following them out from the kitchen.

El gatito decides that it wants to sit at your feet, you look down thinking you don't even like cats. When you look up you are surrounded by the students with beautiful brown eyes and smiles asking you if you might know the pets name, "no, no se," you smile. "No?" they seem disappointed so you look around for someone to ask.

Problem solved, you can't wait to get back home, to your writing...the carving of the space, they will inherit.


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