Alyssa Carlson, a middle school ELL teacher in St. Paul, MN, is a participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar. Carlson reflects on teaching majority-Hmong students and the challenges of finding curriculum for this population. The NEH Summer Seminar, co-taught by Chi-hui Yang (CAAM’s former Festival Director) and Jennifer Hayashida, is a seminar for K-12 teachers to learn more about using Asian American film and literature in their classrooms. CAAM is the largest distributor of Asian American films, with more than 200 titles. Check out CAAM’s Films for Educators for a list of titles we distribute.
My name is Alyssa Carlson, and I teach 6-8 grade ELL (English Language Learners) at HOPE Community Academy in St. Paul, MN. HOPE is a charter school aimed at students in the very large Hmong community in the Twin Cities, and our school is approximately 97% Hmong. My students are mostly of the 1.5 generation—born in America to new immigrant parents, or immigrants to America at a very young age.
I’m never surprised by the intelligence and dedication of teachers, but the extent of the intelligence and dedication in our classroom at Hunter College every day is really exciting and humbling. I was expecting to think, but each day I Think with a capital T. The biggest surprise is how exhausted I am by the evening, just because my brain has been working so hard in class.