White Teacher

In the classrooms that I have been in recently, it is apparent that as a white teacher, I represent the few white students in that school. Reading White Teacher by Vivian Gussin Paley helps me reflect.

Paley reminds me that it is easier to ignore a problem when I am uncomfortable because it may be an issue of race rather than thinking of it as a problem and handling it as a problem. Rather than recognize skin color because I am attempting to be color blind, I could create a larger problem. Also, a problem could be related to or thought of as a social/cultural issue as well.

Personally, I have found that mannerisms are different for people across the country regardless of skin color. Someone from Massachusetts will speak and possibly react somewhat differently to a situation than someone from Texas. Once we recognized and acknowledged the differences, we were able to work through them.

Paley presents several instances where she was reminded that she could solve problems with children of all colors and with children who have disabilities. She built upon her repertoire of successes. Several factors that helped were staff development for areas where she needed help; talking with colleagues with whom she had rapport; and reflection.