Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

Home of the Delta Kings

Stagg Online

“It’s a classroom for sharing their story.” Ethnic studies teachers prepare for new specialty class

Alona Chanloeun
Political posters fill up Coach Joy’s classroom. She and Jay Sanidad teach ethnic studies and plan on teaching Filipino-American studies next fall. (Alona Chanloeun / Stagg Online)

Ethnic studies teachers Jay Sanidad and Joy Rialubin Trejo want to write a curriculum that combines their teaching expertise with their cultural background, which would become Filipino American Studies. 

The class has been sent out to the counselors but they are waiting for confirmation. The idea is to get Filipino American Studies offered as a class in fall of next year. They want to educate students more about Filipino culture and contributions to American history as well as give students an opportunity to be who they are and to share their voice. 

Sanidid and Trejo both have a passion for ethnic studies and want to further it while talking about their backgrounds, in order to help the younger generation understand the challenges, ambition, and healing of the Filipino community.

¨One of the most beautiful things about Ethics Studies is that it’s a classroom for sharing their story.¨ Sanidad said. They want to help students feel connected to their roots and culture because who inspired them was people that showed importance.

Sanidad was inspired by Filipino educators that worked at an after-school program called Little Manila After School. They go over topics and learn about the history of Filipino people. It’s a community that caters to high school youth beyond schooling, teaching history, art, community and collegiate access. 

Sanidad mentions Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, a history professor working in San Francisco. Dr. Mabalon was the first Pinay professor to get her doctorate at Stanford. ¨She really inspired me to see the importance of where my story fits,” said Sanidad. 

Jay Sanidad (right) teaches his students about the ¨The impact of a dominant Narrative” on CBS news. He walks around the room answering questions while students read the article.
(Alona Chanloeun/ Stagg Online )

Dr. Mabalon inspired Sanidad to see who he is and what he could become. He wants to show that he is proud of being Filipino. He wants to share different perspectives and to help grow this community. 

Ethnic Studies is essentially a history class. Ethnic studies examines culture and people rather than just events that history teaches. 

Ethnic Studies was something teachers would have to fight for, and teachers like Sanidad and Trejo have worked hard to get the classes approved and teach them. Trejo says Ethnic Studies isn’t a class where a teacher would say , “Oh I’m going to introduce a bunch of cultures to you, it’s not like that.” It’s a class where students can share their story and voice. 

The Filipino-American History class would look at ¨How people empower [their] voice, how it affects voices, uplifting voices that don’t typically get heard,¨ according to Trejo. She emphasizes that if you empower students and really teach them about using their voice and educating them more on their culture or about their place in society, they can make a very impactful change.

For Trejo her dad was a role model and because she lost him so early she wanted to carry this out and learn more to feel connected. ¨I don’t feel like I learned as much as I could about his life before he left, and so I had to kind of piece together his story,¨ Trejo said. He taught her to have this passion and by studying history in college she got to learn more about her dad. When she teaches this class, she’ll talk about her dad’s history. ¨Getting to teach about my dad is kind of like I’m doing it for them¨

Coach Joy (left) sits at a desk and plans curriculum for Filipino American Studies, while the class watches “Missing and Murder of Indigenous women.¨ Filipino-American studies will be offered next fall. (Alona Chanloeun / Stagg Online)
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Respectful and thoughtful comments are encouraged. Spam, advertising, and bot comments will not be published. Comments promoting hatespeech, racism, sexism, ableism, or any other -isms will not be published. Please keep in mind that articles from the Stagg Online are written by high school students. Opinion articles reflect the views of the individual writer, not the publication as a whole.
All Stagg Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *