Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chamorro Classes are Needed in Schools

Chamorro classes are needed in our schools

This is in response to Kaeshier Fernandez's letter regarding Chamorro education as "unnecessary, inconvenient, and uneconomical." First of all, I am glad to see a student voicing an opinion and challenging the curriculum. The freedom to express a dissenting opinion is one which continues to make our country great.

Additionally, I am saddened to see that Kaeshier's experiences have led him to feel that learning Chamorro in school was a waste of time and resources. However, that does not necessarily reflect the view of all students.

I recall the newfound appreciation for my culture and sense of self when I could finally piece together a few simple Chamorro sentences. I still remember the day I had a conversation with my grandfather in Chamorro and told him I got married. Now, I am a seasoned teacher at Untalan Middle School and I've seen firsthand how students not only enjoy learning the language, but also cultural aspects, such as weaving, singing and dancing. By the way, I am not a Chamorro teacher, but I know some really great ones at my school.

Let's keep in mind that not everything we take in school is going to grace a college resume. By that line of reasoning, we should give up art, home economics and many of the other electives students enjoy because most colleges don't care if you can draw, cook or sew.

Finally, yes, learning Chamorro is required because the alternative is to do nothing. Are we going to give up on Chamorro, which survived several foreign occupations, because some students don't like to take the class? Foreigners tried to kill, beat and fine the language out of our ancestors and, against all odds, it still exists. Can you imagine if it finally died out because we said, "Our chances are slim and some kids are complaining."

As a student sitting through another lesson on transitive verbs might, it's natural to wonder what it's all for, but there is a larger picture to be seen. The things that touch our soul -- art, music, culture -- may not be necessary, convenient or economical, but fill an intangible need that goes beyond the academia that pads a college application.

Letter to the Editor
Guam PDN

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