Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Title: Miyoko Kaneta Interview
Narrator: Miyoko Kaneta
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 12, 2018
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-449

<Begin Segment 15>

VY: Okay, and then after you spent your time there, you came back to the States, and did you continue to teach in Seattle?

MK: Yes. By then, I was not able to get into a full time position, so I was teaching as a substitute, and that was a very good experience. Because then I was able to cover from grade kindergarten through twelve, wherever I received the assignments. And I had one very interesting experience teaching kindergarten. There was one child -- these were mostly children from China. And the teacher in charge herself was Chinese American. But I was handling the class that day, and there was one young boy that just came from Hong Kong, and this was a period for drawing, and they had crayons. And I spent time telling them to draw a house or whatever. And when I collected the paper, this little boy's picture was all in black. And I was shocked, and so I took it to Cissy, the teacher in charge, and she told me that, yeah, he just came from China, having to leave his brother, and he was very depressed. He had family member here, too, but it was the first time he was away from his family in China. And he was very sad and lonely, and so then I thought, well, we got to do something about this. So I gathered up the class again, and I said, "Okay, let's all be friends." And we named each other, and they also took him in, and day by day, color started creeping into his drawings. That was a very interesting experience, and I thought, oh, if any of you have problem children, give them a set of crayons and you could really tell what's going on by the colors they use.

VY: It sounds like there were a lot of Chinese students at that particular time.

MK: Yes. I guess there were that many of that age group in that area. And two years later, I was assigned to another elementary school, third grade, and that same young boy was in that third grade. And I was attending to the row and I heard clatter of chairs, and he and another classmate were at odds, and they were about ready to sock each other, the clenched fists. And I said, "What's going on?" And I took them apart, and I said, "I guess we'll have to visit the principal." And so I took both their hands, and we were walking through the halls, I had each boy on either side and holding their hands. And finally, just in the middle of the walk, this little Chinese boy squeezed my hand, he looked up at me. Evidently he remembered me, and I remembered him by his name. And he said, "Teacher, I love you." And that made my day. In fact, I think it made my whole teaching career. [Laughs]

VY: That's a wonderful story.

MK: And I marched them to the principal's office and just told them the little story, but I think they got along fine. [Laughs]

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2018 Densho. All Rights Reserved.