Culture is a delicate word. If you spoke to a Sarah Buonauro exactly 12 months ago I would have told you a definition of culture that revolved around sameness. Coming from my background living in Northern California going to schools where students were so similar. I came to Southern California with no idea of the cultures in the area. Glendale seemed like a nice place to live and it is for a big city. The culture of the area and the culture of my school site were nothing like anything I had seen before.
What is culture? I found this definition very helpful “culture generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance” (Wikipedia.com). My first day on Glendale High School campus was frightening. The school is huge, 3,200 students strong. The buildings had three and four stories. I sat in the back of my future classroom, which I was due to take over from the former teacher April 1, 2008. It was like my D-Day. I was a bartender and supervisor; I was used to working with liquor and moody cooks. My friends made bets how long I would last. Some didn’t believe that their Sarah B. was a high school science teacher. My culture was shattered by those six periods of geosciences. I was shocked at the accents, shocked at the lack of expectations, shocked at student behavior. It was six periods of zoos, not fun zoos where animals look fat and happy but a developing nation zoo with three-legged half-starving animals.
The population at Glendale High School looks on paper to be very much like any city in California with roughly half of the population being Caucasian, 30% Hispanic with the remaining percentages being made up with African American and Asian students. The Armenian population is the one that I focused on for my presentation, and it will be this aspect of the culture that I focus this paper. My first few weeks I looked like a lost puppy, my students must have...
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