A. Lin Goodwin with Seung Eun McDevitt

Dr. A. Lin Goodwin

A. Lin Goodwin is the Evenden Professor of Education and vice dean at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. She is immediate past vice president of the American Educational Research Association-Division K: Teaching and Teacher Education (2013-2016). In 2015, she was honored as a Distinguished Researcher by AERA’s Special Interest Group: Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans, and was named the inaugural Dr. Ruth Wong Professor of Teacher Education by the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Goodwin’s research focuses on teacher/teacher educator development; multicultural understandings and curriculum enactments; issues facing Asian/Asian American teachers and students in U.S. schools; and on international analyses/comparisons of teacher education practice and policy. Her work appears in top journals, including the Journal of Teacher Education and Teachers College Record. An international consultant around issues of teacher education, Goodwin has worked with educators in Poland, Thailand, and Singapore. In this conversation with Sunny McDevitt, ….

SUNNY McDEVITT

I’d like to start off by asking you to please share your immigration story and how it relates to or does not relate to your work on immigrant education or any other work that you are doing or have been doing.

LIN GOODWIN

I was 19 years old when I came to this country. At the time I didn’t realize it but now of course with a better understanding of history, I see that I was actually a part of that wave after 1965 when the immigration restrictions against Asians were lifted. So it wasn’t immediately after 1975 but it certainly was in the decade after. So that was sort of interesting. And the reason why we were able to come was because my mother had two sisters who had married Americans and were American citizens living in the U.S. And my mother always had a dream that her children would go away to University. I’m the first person in my family to go to University. My mother has a high school education and she actually had a scholarship from China to come to University in the U.S. It was Sacred Heart University connected to Sacred Heart Convent which was in Shanghai. But she couldn’t afford to come even with a scholarship because the scholarship is one thing but then she had family responsibilities. She ended up giving her scholarship away to a good friend of hers. It’s kind of amazing that she was actually able to do that. She has kept in touch with this friend and the friend has talked about how my mother changed her life because she was able to use that scholarship. Anyway, my mother maintained that dream. So when I had the opportunity to come to university, there must have been some conversation with my mother and her sisters. They said, “You know we’ll sponsor you.” So my whole family came. My whole family as in my mother and my two sisters; my father was not in the picture. We had to all appear in the country so we could get our Green Cards and then I started college and they went back to Singapore. Later on, my middle sister came to live with one of my aunts. She finished high school here and then started university but never finished. And then my youngest sister eventually came and she also went to university and ended up at City College.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Wow, that’s amazing how you came here so young to get an education because of your mom’s dream and now you are teaching at one of the most prestigious universities. So how does that experience actually…

LIN GOODWIN

Oh that’s right, the second part of the question. In some ways it’s so much a part of my identity. So it’s not as if I think about myself as an immigrant every single day but at the same time, even though I’ve long been a U.S. citizen, and I’m married to an American, I still very much feel that dual identity, still very much feel that I am Singaporean and also American. But most of me doesn’t feel American. Most of me feels Asian, Southeast Asian and Singaporean. And it’s probably because that’s where I grew up, that’s where I’ve spent most of my life. That is where I feel the most comfortable even though I consider myself a very adaptable person who kind of fits in wherever.

I think that in some ways it is interesting because a lot of Asian American students who were born and raised here or who came when they were very young, they don’t realize (that I am first generation). Externally, in terms of how I talk or how I dress, it doesn’t show because I’m a code switcher. You know, I just switch codes depending on where I am. But honestly, I’m deeply Asian and I’m deeply traditional in terms of the culture and in terms of the beliefs. I don’t feel that I need to be a spokesperson, but at the same time I find myself being that very often because we are excluded from the conversation. I always have to say, “Wait a second, this conversation is incomplete,” or, “You can’t say that because Asian doesn’t mean anything. It includes so many different people.”

SUNNY McDEVITT

Right.

LIN GOODWIN

So I think that’s one that’s never far from my consciousness. The second is I think it has an impact in terms of my own sensibilities and commitments around students whom I work with and what I choose to do. I mean, it’s no accident obviously that I study diversity and immigrants and I think it comes from that. I remember two things quite clearly. One was this conversation, sort of this notion of diversity I was introduced to through my work here at TC in a more sort of intellectual, academic, and theoretical sense. But certainly experientially and personally of course there are many, many experiences where you are reminded of your own diversity, or diversities. But I remember one day thinking, “Wait a second, where is the conversation about Asians or Asian Americans?” And I think much of my own career has been around, If you don’t see something happening then you need to step into that space. And some of that space is political and some of that space is pretty ordinary, right? So rather than whining about things not being in place or questioning why things are missing, or being upset about it or complaining about it, you have to do it. Part of what I feel Asian Americans have to do as a community is speak ourselves into existence. So that is what I did in terms of entering the work around Asian Americans. For example, when I was an early doctoral student member of the Asian SIG I used to go to the meetings, which were barely attended. I remember the first time I opened the door into this room and there was a small circle of people. And I think there might have been one or two Asians in the room and everyone else was White. So it was like, wait a second, this is supposed to be the Asian SIG? And then we would have a little conversation that lasted, I don’t know, 15 to 20 minutes. They’d talk about the budget, they’d talk about membership, how many sessions they had and then it was time to go and eat Chinese food. The first time, I didn’t go with them because I didn’t know anybody. The next time I went to the meeting, it was just the same thing! So I thought, well, this is no good. I’m not interested in it and I didn’t go. I didn’t go for a few years. The next time I went I was not a doctoral student anymore, but I thought if I go and it’s the same way then I have to stop whining and do something about it. So I started to become much more involved in the SIG and eventually I was secretary, I was treasurer, I was program chair and I was president. There were people like me wanting to see some action working from their own agency, wanting to speak themselves into existence. And it was also a space for doctoral students, which was important as well. It has so much more potential, for sure. Lots of people come who are not Asian who do work on Asian American education issues whatever they may be. But the fact that it is very much an organization that is freeing the structure and is centered around Asians and Asian Americans, I think it’s a really important thing and I feel proud to have been part of that movement.

So that’s one answer to the question and I guess the other answer is simply, I think the experience here is always about refuting the assumptions that people make of you. People think they know you based upon stereotypes they make. They assign you identities, which I’ve resisted. That is another way in which my experiences as an immigrant, a woman, someone who has grown up elsewhere who is part of the Asian diaspora and who definitely has a family that is very, very diverse, very scattered and very multi-layered, shape me. I know that I don’t fit any box and I know that no one else does either.

Part of what I see as the important work to do is to always remind everyone, including myself because I’m not immune either, that each one of us has multiple identities and that nobody fits into some particular category.

SUNNY McDEVITT

I think the identity work is really complex. For myself, I think I resisted certain identities of mine. I’m Asian and I am from Korea. When I first came to the U.S. I avoided saying that I was born in Korea. When people asked me, “Oh, where are you from?” I hated that question. “Don’t ask me where I’m from.”

LIN GOODWIN

That’s when you say, “I’m from New York.” “Like really, where are you from?” “I’m from New York.” (laughs)

SUNNY McDEVITT

Now I’m starting to embrace my multiple identities but it’s taken me a long time to really process and accept them. And some of them I still resist. But I wonder if you, like when you first came if you thought about all these identities or if has it been a process that is constantly evolving?

LIN GOODWIN

It’s a process.

SUNNY McDEVITT

For those students who are still struggle with their identities what would you like to tell them? I think a lot of them still resist some of their identities just like I used to. For example, Some Asian-Americans don’t want to hang out with other Asian people, like you said no one came to the Asian SIG.

LIN GOODWIN

Uh huh, uh huh.

SUNNY McDEVITT

It’s not like there are no Asian professors or scholars, right?

LIN GOODWIN

Still not enough though, for sure…and they’re concentrated in particular fields, not so much in education, for sure. So I think that A, I was at an advantage, in the sense that I grew up elsewhere. I grew up in a place where I didn’t have to think about being Asian everyday. Right? I was just Asian. And I was an Asian among other Asians. But I was also Asian among other Southeast Asians. So Singapore is a very multicultural, multilingual, multiracial, multi-religious, multi- everything society. So I grew up just kind of you know, seeing that diversity as natural. Assuming that diversity was not just okay, it was just normal. It was normal. It was normal to hear different languages. Singapore has four national languages. You know, people trans-language all the time, so that it’s automatic. There are phrases that all of us use, you know from Malay language, from Chinese language, and not just Chinese, it’s from dialects as well. So yeah, that wasn’t unusual at all and I was a person that was very active, I was very involved in school, I was outspoken, I was someone who was into performance, I was a writer, I was lots of things. And suddenly I came here and I was assigned an identity that I didn’t recognize, you know. So because you didn’t speak, therefore you were quiet. I’m not quiet, I’m just trying to figure out this kind of…you’re entering a new environment. You’re trying to figure out cultures and codes and turn taking and all this kind of stuff. And I remember being on a dissertation committee here and it was a dissertation that was being written by an Asian American about Asian American students. I remember thinking the findings were so stereotypical–about passivity and silence and all these things–and I thought, “No, I don’t believe it and I’m going to challenge this.” And of course the other people on the committee, everyone was White except me, and they accepted it because that was what their reality was, you know? And so I said, “You know when I first came I was quiet too, it wasn’t because I was passive. It was because I was entering a discourse and a style of discourse that was unfamiliar so I had to learn how to talk that talk. So you know here people talk over each other, they interrupt each other. One person says one thing, the next person says exactly the same thing and that’s okay. So yeah I had to learn how to do that and interrupt and push myself into the conversation too and become a ‘rude’ American.”

Another story was when I was a doctoral student, my mum came to visit me and we were walking through the cafeteria and I stopped and talked with a classmate. We had a little chit chat about dissertations and research. So we had this conversation and my mum is, you know, she speaks brilliant English. She is completely fluent in English because she was educated in English and her English is better than just about everyone I know in terms of everything, in terms of writing, in terms of vocabulary, in terms of you know, everything. And we continued walking and she said, “I know you two were speaking English but…” She said, “I didn’t understand a word that you said.” And then she also said, “What happened to you, how come you talk so fast now?” So those are just the little things that I keep with me….this idea of code switching and this idea of being comfortable. I wasn’t automatically that way. When I came here, it was a skill I had to develop in a hurry. And I consider myself a really good observer and I think that good observation skill has served me so I’m able to fit in very quickly because I’m able to assess very quickly what people are doing and what’s going on. So, in some ways you know I’m happy that I learned it, in some ways yes because it’s a good skill but it was a forced learning, it was definitely a forced learning.

SUNNY McDEVITT

If you see immigrant children in schools, especially young children who just came or even born here then going to school for the very first time…

LIN GOODWIN

School for the first time is scary.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Yeah, right and then they have to learn how to code-switch and how to speak differently and all these things. You see a lot of kids going through the silent period, sometimes like a whole year. So, thinking about educating immigrant children, what do you think is the core? What’s the most important thing that we need to do, or teachers need to do, when educating immigrant children?

LIN GOODWIN

I think first of all when you talk about code switching, that part of the problem is that code switching is often not allowed. So it’s not even code switching, it’s actually trans-languaging, right? That is such an important opening because this idea of using language that you know to make meaning of language that you’re learning is critical. So, I think that culture is language. Language is culture. It’s other things too but language is so essential. We have this weird idea that if you’re learning this you have to focus on this and nothing else. And that’s not how learning happens. Learning is about connections and associations and false starts and meandering paths. Not everything is a one to one correspondence. So that’s one and you know the second is, how do you listen to children? This is about listening and honoring what they bring and not in that superficial, “Oh, can you bring some food from your home?” It’s about finding authentic ways to invite. Connecting human beings, honoring them isn’t so hard but you have to take a moment to do it. You have to remember to do it; you have to want to do it.

SUNNY McDEVITT

And you have to care.

LIN GOODWIN

You have to care, right. So even in Singapore a teacher said to me, “Oh, I have so many students that I don’t remember their names.” I’m thinking, really? How can you not remember? I don’t care if you have 300 students a day. Even if you have to have a cheat sheet everyday, do it because that makes a difference to kids, to everyone you know really.

SUNNY McDEVITT

I started doing my dissertation work and I was interviewing this one teacher who was Chinese but then moved to Vietnam and then came to America. I asked her, “Do you remember any teachers from your schooling in America?” and she said, “I remember one teacher who actually pronounced my name correctly.”

LIN GOODWIN

Hello?!

SUNNY McDEVITT

Like correctly, like really well. She said, “That was really special and I felt like you know I was noticed by someone.”

LIN GOODWIN

Names are very important. But I do feel as though my experience is unique because I did come as an English speaker. So I think that makes a difference. So not just, did I have an accent when I got here? Yeah, I did and I lost it really, really quickly although I can get it back again depending on what context I’m in. So, that is the code switching part. So, I often wonder you know, what would’ve been… because I don’t pretend to know the immigrant experience because the immigrant experience is as wide and deep as there are immigrants. But, I do think to myself what would it have been like if English were not my first language or if I was a refugee? I was a voluntary immigrant. I didn’t come from a wealthy family but we were not stricken by poverty. When I needed some help at least I had some relatives, you know whom I could turn to. I never did but the fact that they were there or that I had some place to go during the holidays, at least that first year. It makes a huge difference. At the same time you know, as I said, I was the first person in my family to go to college. We were totally clueless about everything, about what it meant, about financial aid, about… everything had to be learned you know by accident.

SUNNY McDEVITT

By accident?

LIN GOODWIN

Yeah, by accident or you know sometimes learned too late. It’s like really? I could have done that? But I didn’t know that. So yeah, I definitely understand what that means to be not just an immigrant but a first generation college attendee. But, the other thing that I feel very fortunate about, this is connected to your question about Asian Americans here–I feel fortunate that I had a chance to solidify my identity before I came here. I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up here and to not feel free to own who you are because of prevailing forces here. Because it’s what the norms are, it’s what’s acceptable, it’s what people say they are willing to embrace. It’s what’s cool, it’s what’s invited, it’s what’s in the books, whatever it is I feel very, very lucky that I had a solid foundation in terms of who I was as an Asian and a Singaporean. It’s no accident that so many Asian Americans… For example, Chinese Americans don’t speak their own language. They speak other languages but they don’t speak Chinese.

SUNNY McDEVITT

They speak Spanish.

LIN GOODWIN

They speak Spanish.

SUNNY McDEVITT

And you’re Chinese.

LIN GOODWIN

Yeah, in the study that we did about the experiences of Asian American preservice teachers, most of our Asian American students spoke Spanish. Most of them wanted to work with or did work with African American and Latina/Latino youth. And again, is that a bad thing? Of course not, it’s an amazing thing but what about your own, what about Asian Americans? No one had ever even thought about it because they had bought into that we’re all fine, we’re all doctors/lawyers, we don’t need that help but what kind of nonsense is that? Again that oppression that you… that you internalize.

SUNNY McDEVITT

What are some of your current work that you’re doing and how your work transformed into your current work or maybe future work?

LIN GOODWIN

There’s a strong theme in my work that has been in place pretty much from the beginning, right? Maybe not a strong theme but several strong themes. Teacher education is a very, very strong theme and also multiculturalism, diversity, social justice, equity… those are strong themes. And then teacher beliefs… beliefs, identity, you know sort of autobiography those… that’s also a strong thread. And each one of those, they’re not present in every single piece that I do but they’re always a part of my thinking. They are certainly a part of my teaching or any conversation that I may be a part of. So, how it developed over time… hmm I think it took me awhile to… and I think this is not a personal process, I think it’s a process that every first doctoral student and then academic goes through is. You’re supposed to have a line of inquiry, an established line or lines. In fact when you go up for tenure you have to write a professional statement and that statement is supposed to explain to your reviewers what your research is and how it coheres. It’s always an evolution. So my work on Asian Americans didn’t begin in the beginning, you know, it came later. It is still a part of that conversation about diversifying multiculturalism and Teacher Ed. The conversation now is about those three things and Asian Americans. The first study was about Asian American teachers. You see how that… it just sort of moves from one step to another. The work that I do internationally, I started to do more and more of it and all of a sudden… every time you do something new, it changes the way you think, it causes you to ask different questions. Now I’m doing a lot of work around teacher education, and again trying to blend questions of social justice with questions of teaching preparation and preparation of teachers for urban environments or a particular place. So it’s never far from the fold so they’re all within the grouping, all within the same sort of boundary but different aspects within that boundary.

SUNNY McDEVITT

I’m interested hearing more about the work that you do in Singapore. I think it’s really interesting that you are able to go back to your native country and do some amazing work. What it is like to actually go back to your native country and then do the work with the people there and talk about here and there. How did this all happen?

LIN GOODWIN

(Laughing) It just happened…

SUNNY McDEVITT

It’s kind of amazing that you could do that.

LIN GOODWIN

Yeah, I know it’s… so I think because my family is still there so obviously I have a good reason to go back. I still go to Singapore as often as I can because so much of it is tied to family so I’m very, very Asian in that sense. You know, family comes first and family is… why you make most of your decisions.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Yes, same here.

LIN GOODWIN

It doesn’t change. In fact, when I finished college, I intended to go back to Singapore to work and explore teaching opportunities there. I was totally certified in general and special education and special education was a non-existent field. And the little bit that was done wasn’t even with children with disabilities. It was mostly people working with organizations or associations, like the Association for the Mentally Retarded, which of course was the terminology at the time. And they were interested because most of them were not educators. They were people who were service oriented, they were philanthropists, or people in the business or medical field. And so they were very anxious for someone who had an understanding of curriculum and education and teaching. I think they were talking about starting a school but it would not have been a public school. It would’ve been a private, but private is not even the right word because that sort of connotes a particular sort of level of privilege. It would have been outside the government system, but government supported. The problem was that they were very disorganized because they didn’t know what they were doing and I was a kid, I didn’t know what I was doing either. I was just 24-years-old with my first degree coming out of college and all of a sudden it was like, “What do I do with my life?” You have no clue at all but pragmatically what they were offering salary wise, I couldn’t have supported myself. I wasn’t ready to go back and move in with my mother, so that’s why I decided to come back here and here is where I got my teaching experience. And then you teach and then you think about going back to school and so I did and you teach some more and before you know it you are in the doctorate program and on a completely different track. When I came to Teachers College, I was a Master’s student with several Singaporeans whom I met here. So we became friends, there was that kind of connection right away and I’m still friends with them 30 years later. And some of those friends are now people in the ministry of education, people at the University and then through those friends you meet other people. So it becomes like a network kind of a thing and they’ll say, “Oh, you’re in Singapore? Come talk to my students,” or “Can you give a talk here?”

SUNNY McDEVITT

It’s about friendship.

LIN GOODWIN

Oh yeah, it’s all about friendship. Slowly things started to happen and then at TC… the Singapore government sent several delegations here. I was always the kind of person that they would contact because they knew that I was the person that would say, “Oh, I want to be involved. I can help out.” I continued to go back and forth and I would do in-services, I would do workshops. Or a school, a teacher would come and say, “Oh, can you come to my school?” One thing leads to another and there was no strategic plan certainly on my part. I didn’t begin a big consulting business there or something. Although I certainly could have… but it’s not who I am.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Yeah, I hear how much money they make and I’m like whoa!

LIN GOODWIN

They make millions! Singapore buys these whole programs and there are multiple year contracts for millions of dollars. But anyway, with the new president, when Susan came in they… Singapore came again. And Susan was much more experienced and already knew people in Singapore. She’s very connected to people in China. At UPenn, international work was a critical aspect of what she did. So she brought in institutional support for international work. And as a consequence of that we developed the joint Master’s, that’s when we signed a MoU. And then, as things move along, you just become more well known. It’s not just in Singapore, but it’s in Hong Kong, it’s in China it’s you know in Thailand, it’s in Australia. So the funny thing is that part of the key to being invited to do work internationally is to become famous in America. (Laughing)

SUNNY McDEVITT

(Laughing) Oh, man. That sounds really hard.

LIN GOODWIN

Again, it’s not what I set out to do. No, obviously not. But Teachers College is a huge global platform. Teachers College is a pretty amazing place and people in the world revere it. So, would I be the same person if I went to another institution, would I get the same invitations? Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know. But now, it’s sort of amazing because I go places and it is as if I’m some kind of rock star. I mean, I’m well known here, I have a good reputation, I’m a nationally known scholar. I’m not going to minimize that. But I don’t have the status here, that I have there. I think, really?

SUNNY McDEVITT

They take it seriously.

LIN GOODWIN

They totally take it seriously.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Not that they don’t do it here but even more over there. But you know the fact that you can actually do things for your own people that’s just so amazing…

LIN GOODWIN

It’s true.

SUNNY McDEVITT

You’re helping, you’re doing something good for them.

LIN GOODWIN

It makes a difference if you are both an insider and an outsider. I remember when I was on sabbatical, I spent the year in Singapore. The kind of connection I can make with people right away—it’s around language, it’s around culture, and it’s around history. I know what they’re talking about, I’ve been there, I’ve been in those classrooms and in those schools. You know, I’ve kept up with what’s going on in the country. It makes a huge difference and so even when people talk to me and they say, “You know, Lin, I really want you to be a part of this because you really understand our position but you’re also from the states.” It’s kind of like that balancing between the two things, it’s unusual, right? I think that is another kind of secret to my success going back to the code switching and adaptation. I’m able to fit in and read the local culture quickly. Obviously, when I work in Poland or France it’s very different. In Singapore, I have whole base that is very different from what I don’t have in Poland. But at the same time, I’m able to connect with people in Poland because I’m paying attention and listening. I try to learn a little bit of their language you know? I listen to what is important to them.

SUNNY McDEVITT

So, I’ve learned your secret. (Laughing)

LIN GOODWIN

I have many secrets, that’s one of them.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Well, so I guess I can ask the last two questions. They are kind of related. How would you like to be remembered by others from your life’s work? I know you are still doing a lot of things.

LIN GOODWIN

I know! That’s a sobering question.

SUNNY McDEVITT

And, what are your hopes and dreams?

LIN GOODWIN

I always want to be remembered as someone who operated from an ethical stance. Someone who was committed to, and tried to fight for, justice. But, justice sometimes seems like justice with the big J. Yet there are injustices that occur everywhere, every minute on a daily basis in the lives that we lead. And then there are injustices with the big J that we need to fight as well. So, I think that I’d like to be remembered for someone who was honest. I consider myself a very frank person. I try to practice what I preach.

SUNNY McDEVITT

So important!

LIN GOODWIN

So important. I feel like that’s something I’m always striving for and I think that I’d like to be remembered as someone who lived up to her commitments. It is very important to me if I say I’m doing something that I do it. I would also like to be remembered as someone who is a good friend. A good friend and someone that you can count on. Someone who is a good story teller, someone who loved a good time. Someone who took things seriously but not too seriously.

SUNNY McDEVITT

To a young scholar or a scholar to be like myself, Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to share?

LIN GOODWIN

I would say the same thing that I’ve actually said to several people and it’s again sort of a consequence of a realization of my own that actually came fairly late in life, in the sense that I might have been in my forties when I realized it. So, two things that I think have been very much part of my own professional and personal trajectory. One is to say yes. To not be afraid or exclude yourself by worrying about whether or not you are able. It’s like that whole thing about waiting in class to speak and trying to formulate that one thing that nobody else is going to say and that is so brilliant that everyone will stand up and you can feel sort of good that you actually contributed something that was unique and worthwhile. It’s like get over it! (Laughing) It’s not that you want to repeat everything that everyone says, it’s not that you want to leap for things that you clearly are not ready for. But at the same time, I think that sometimes we put up too many barriers. There is learning involved, you know? So, if you’re ready to learn and you think you have some of what it takes, say yes. There is a lot that happens around “Just say no,” protect yourself. Protect your time, your writing time, blah blah blah. And yes that’s important but I see people protecting themselves to the point that they’re not part of the conversation. Yes, that means lots of sleepless nights. You know, lots of weekend work. I work every weekend. I work 24/7. I do it because I have to, but I do it also because I love it. So part of it is that and my husband and I didn’t have children. So that’s another issue but I watch many people with children who are able to do this. And, I’ve watched many people without any responsibilities just not be able to do it. So some of it has to do with just you know, what you decide to do. People say, “I don’t have time to write.” Wake up, there’s no time to write ever! You have to figure out how to do it. So be ready to take risks and to say yes even though it scares you. Because you’re not 100% certain that you can do it but you’re 50% certain, right?

And the other piece of advice doesn’t apply to everyone. So, some people are planners. And I’m totally a planner but in the micro-sense. I’m not a planner in the long-term sense. I remember when I was younger I had some friends, good friends, who had 5 year plans. I came to Teachers College and did the Master’s program and I was surrounded by some people who were also so organized. They knew exactly what would be happening, when they were getting married, what kind of job they were going to get. And one friend did it, she absolutely did it until life changed very dramatically for her. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a good life and she’s not a happy person, absolutely not. She’s amazing and happy and has a great family. But I always thought that, that was the way you had to be. I always thought that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t have a 5-year plan. I remember sitting down trying to create a 5-year plan and having no clue. Allow yourself to lean in to the un-planned. Be flexible and adaptable.

SUNNY McDEVITT

Oh wow, well thank you so much… for sharing your journey and this was again an honor for me.

LIN GOODWIN

You’re welcome.

Seung Eun (Sunny) McDevitt is currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her scholarly interests are in the areas of immigrant education, teacher diversity, and early childhood/special education.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s