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My Thoughts on Immigrant Allyship & Teacher Appreciation Week

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

I feel grateful for teachers who take seriously their roles as nurturers, educators, and inspiration. It’s much work coupled with many teachers being underpaid despite noticeable price hikes due to inflation.

So, I'm floored when said teacher goes the extra mile to include their immigrant students (and their parents)! So, while I’ll be appreciating my kids’ teachers this Teacher Appreciation Week, I think it's important to share what Allying as a Teacher means in and to the Immigrant community.

*I hope this Abbott Elementary GIF makes you smile

So, I wrote this list of 10 things Teacher-Allies of Immigrant kids do:

1. They ensure that their classroom is welcoming and inclusive for all students regardless of their culture or background. Their posters, books, music playlists, and video selections reflect this.

2. They learn about their students' backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. This information is also needed to build stronger relationships with the parents who handle the home front portion.

3. They offer help to immigrant students who may need it. This may come in the form of mentoring, tutoring, and after-school programs.

4. They patiently use videos, photos, and diagrams to help students understand new concepts, especially for students still learning their new countries' languages.

5. They encourage students to maintain their home language (in situations where the first language is different) while also learning or improving in the language of their new country. They should not have to cut off their culture to belong to a new community.

6. They champion inviting speakers from different cultural backgrounds to help students learn about and appreciate other cultures.

7. They support and guide students as they explore career paths. They never tell them they can’t do it or are not the right fit.

8. They encourage all their students to develop a growth mindset, emphasizing the importance of hard work, consistency, and dedication.

9. They celebrate the diversity of cultures and backgrounds in their classrooms by organizing multicultural activities even though it means more research time.

10. They take reports of bullying and slurs against kids with different ethnicities and accents seriously instead of pretending not to hear or understand what is happening. And they don’t tell immigrant kids that the bullying is just a joke.

Aakruti Desai is the author of Dear Fellow Immigrant Kids: Embracing Your Dual Identity. She was one of my earliest guests on The ImmiGreat Life Podcast, and I go deep into her experiences as a 1st Gen Indian kid. This episode discusses the challenges most 1st Gen Immigrant Kids face.

In another episode, this school principal speaks on her challenges as a young girl in the United States and how teachers can help 1st or 2nd Generation, Immigrant kids.

Don't forget to send those beautiful gifts, flowers, and gift cards this week but don’t forget to add that personal touch. Teachers deserve to know how they help you and your kids. So please share this post with any immigrant parents and teacher allies you know.


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