Views on Education from Sgt. Her
I am the oldest son in my family, my name is Seng Her, education was very hard for me and took me long hours of discipline from my father. My father loved us and wanted the best for the both of us. You see my father re-marry and took my brother and me with him. I was only 6 year old. I never attended just one school when I was attending elementary through high school. My father moved the family from Fresno, CA to Soiux City, Iowa to Stevens Point, WI to Plainsfield, WI back to Soiux City, Iowa back to Fresno, CA to Statesville, NC to Greensboro, NC. It was his responsibility to see that we grow up healthy. My father moved places to places and that had a major impact on my education. That is one reason why I was held back in second grade twice. It’s was because I didn’t know what they was learning, it was mainly because I was new and kept my distance. Hmong kids these days are very shy. Shyness is a part of our children these days. Until they are welcome and comforted they will remain close.
When I was in middle and high school my father was so busy doing whatever he was doing with his friends and family. He didn’t even notice that I had been an honor student through middle school. I attended Wawona Middle school in Fresno, CA. As long as I wasn’t failing and getting phone calls from school my father didn’t care nor did he attend any of the assembly at school to honor me and many achievements I have accomplish. I finish my freshman year in Fresno. That summer my father moved the family to Statesville, North Carolina. I attended Statesville High School and began to fail again. The stress of starting over affected my education. I barely graduated in 2001. My father finally attended my walk across the stage. I was very happy. But with the lack of support, I didn’t attend college, I didn’t want to, no one urge me, not my father, my family, nor my teachers.
So I walked into this world with a high school diploma, working for two years straight. I started working in a company, work hard and getting promoted to team leader with a decent paid. The job got boring and I couldn’t continue this life. Life started moving quickly and I traditionally married my wife. I witness the plane crashing into the twin tower on ABC news. With a sensation of multiple emotions I secretly join the United States Army. My families, friends and my wife were shock with my decision.
I attended Fort Knox, TN for basic training, Fort Lee, VA for MOS training. My first duty station was Fort Hood, TX. I serve there for 4 years and completed two tours to Iraq with HHC 2-5 Cavalry Infantry Battalion, after my second deployment I was re-station to Fort Stewart, GA assigned to Bravo 2-7 Infantry Battalion. I did one deployment with B 2-7 IN to Iraq. I serve 7 years 6 months in total with the United States military. When I was getting ready to leave the military many of my officers and high chain of command wonder why I was leaving. After coming back from my third deployment from Iraq, I was a sergeant (promotable) getting ready for the points to drop to receive my next rank, staff sergeant. I was already a recognize leader in my company. I left the United States Army with an honorable discharge, Iraq campaign medal w/two campaign stars, Army commendation medal (4th award), army achievement medal, Army good conduct medal (2nd award), National defense service medal, Global war on terrorism expeditionary medal, Global war on terrorism service medal, Army service ribbon, Overseas service ribbon (3rd Award) and Combat Action Badge. My DD214 speaks for itself.
After leaving I seek to continue my education using my Post 9-11 bill to help pay for my college and rent. I struggle everyday where to put gas in my car or put food on the table every day. I know that I must obtain a higher education to provide a better future for my family. Right now as you are reading this, I’m working part-time and attending school full time. I know I’m struggling, with the economy down and work is hard to find. But I’ve seen and been through must worst. For that reason and experience, it motivates me to continue my education. I have a goal to provide for my family and in hope my kids won’t have to endure what I have.
Like I said I’m a veteran with two kids enroll in St. Paul School system. I’m also a full time college student attending Concordia. I just want to give you my point of view of what I think the issue might be on the poor preference of hmong kids.
I can remember when I was growing up in the 80s-90s, my parent didn’t understand English or Math, and they didn’t even finish high school. My father only knew that he must push my brother and me towards getting an education. My father wanted to see was A’s, he didn’t care to listen to our excuses. And one of my issues was when I was held back in second grade, my teacher didn’t care how I was doing. I was new to an all-white school. She gave me no extra help; I would sit there and acted like I knew what to do. I would raise my hand for help and she come back and told me to read the direction. But I had a hard time reading and understanding English. So when she approaches me I gave her a blank paper, she just took it and failed me for that year.
Part of the problem is not our children, it’s the staff and how they view each individual student. When I first moved here a friend told me that I have to teach my kids, I was dumbfounded, that’s what schools are for. But when my son brought home, second grade homework, he didn’t understand what to do with it. I find myself explaining to my son his own homework to him. It’s not just one night out of the week, it’s almost every night. Now with my help for over a month my son can read and understand his homework, but there are times when they move to a new subject in class my son doesn’t know what to do. Even the instructions are difficult to understand. (I know there are parents out there who doesn’t know how to read or they can read but won’t understand the subject) I eventually figure out my son’s homework. I ask you (policy maker) go view your children’s homework. There is some homework with instruction to ask the family to get involve with the homework. But if a child staying with his grandparent and his/her grandparent can’t read, now what. These students needs additional help from school staff/tutor or we just need to advise our school system to teach our children better.
These teachers are just another person like you and me who has their own issues in life. Their job is just another paycheck to them, but it shouldn’t be like that. Not all teachers are like my son’s teacher. My daughter’s teacher is a great teacher who teaches my daughter and her class what to do, and ask them if they understood it. Teachers need to take pride in teaching to kids of all races.
Take a survey and go observe classrooms, watch as kids are being ignored. Sure when you show up they act all respectful to all the kids. But talk to the kids that are failing. See if they are getting the attention they need. Ask them what’s on their mind, and you might find more than just neglect from the teachers. Where are our individual student counselors? Kids are not hard to teach. Even the special need kids understand and learn because they have special teachers who teach them and understand their needs. Do we need to resort to our kids becoming special need and receive an individual teacher for them? I am for the children of our future. We need to invest in them and protect them.
Most parents today aren’t that different from my parents. Parent’s today worries about the bill, friends, families, religion, and their personal interest. Education isn’t a priority in a majority
of hmong families these days. Most parents tell their sons and daughter to get a job, not a college degree. You want your kids to become leaders of this world or just another labor worker. Ask yourself, do you ask your kids if they understand their homework or are you satisfied that they finish it.