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Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi Interview
Narrator: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 4, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-456-10

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VY: Okay, so you went to UCLA, and then what? What did you graduate in?

HH: General elementary credential.

VY: And then did you become a schoolteacher?

HH: Yes.

VY: What grades did you teach?

HH: I went into Torrance, went back to Torrance to teach, and that was nice to be back where I graduated from. But it was... I don't know if I should say this, but it was mostly because I felt my education didn't really prepare me for UCLA, and I wanted to make sure that these kids were prepared for higher academics. And it probably was just me, but I didn't feel I was prepared for college. Because all our exams were all true and false.

VY: When you were in...

HH: In high school. And I never had to write an essay question, we never had essay questions. Or we never really had to write papers that required critical thinking. It was just type something from, plagiarizing, practically. I mean, I didn't really use my head and was required to submit papers like that, or have class assignments that required me to write papers. All I did was just, I shouldn't say, but I was not a very... because I wasn't trained that way.

VY: So the education in that area at the time...

HH: At that time, at that time. But it was, I know my sister, younger sister, had a far better education as far as having to do more critical thinking and writing essays and things. But I wasn't challenged in that way.

VY: That's interesting. So you wanted to go back and challenge your students in a way that you had not been challenged.

HH: I mean, when I went back to school, it was just all a lot about discussion, what do you think? What would you do? What do you predict? I mean, it was more getting them to think and write about it. Taking the newspaper and writing an article about it and just really finding out more in depth about what this article was about, and just write, write, write, every single day I had them write, write, write. And I thought that was just really important, which was lacking in my education. And we had a lot of discussions, too.

VY: What kinds of things did you like to challenge your students about? What topics?

HH: Well, whatever we were talking about, whether it was Martin Luther King day or whatever we were talking about, "What would you do and why?" The whys. How do you think it should be? Instead of who, what, when, where, but the whys and hows, getting them to express their ideas. I thought that was real critical.

VY: You taught for many years. Did you keep in touch with many of your students later on, or did any of them come back to keep in touch?

HH: Oh, yes. And they would invite me out to lunch, and they would get together now that they're in college, let me know what they are doing. Their parents had been very supportive. They would remember me and come by during Christmas or drop something off. They would just remember me and appreciate what I did with their kids and how I might have helped them. And they were always keeping me up on the news of the kids.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.