Customer Reviews: White Teacher
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on November 6, 2000
In White Teacher, Vivian Gussin Paley describes her experiences as a young teacher. She tells of her reactions when faced with a classroom full of children who are different from her. By recounting her experiences as a child and reflecting upon them, she is able to better understand why certain children behave in certain ways. These reflections, given in a narrative form, inform the reader of the thought processes of Paley. Through these examples, one is able to better understand what the author was experiencing.
Paley's intention is to prepare future readers for the experiences she has had by giving the reader her reactions to them. She tells the reader what worked to make a bad situation better, as well as what did not. Most of the cultural differences Paley describes occur between her, a Jew of European descent and the African-American children in her classes. However, many of the lessons and principles used apply to all children. Her examples include children with different learning styles; comments taken out of context; children who are excluded from a group and those forming the groups based on a singular characteristic. The majority of the classroom settings are in half-day kindergartens.
This is a wonderful book for anyone who has ever had, or will face a multicultural situation - that would include pretty much all of us. There is an added value in this book for potential teachers. Paley shows how to effectively validate children's perceptions of the world and make them feel value and self-worth.
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on July 28, 1999
I thoroughly enjoyed the book White Teacher. I would recommended this book to every upcoming teacher. The reason I enjoyed the book so much, because she took you into the classroom with her. Ms. Paley lets her readers know that the role of a teacher goes beyond the classroom walls. She also stress the importance of treating each child equally and not to assume that a child has a learning problem because they don't catch on as fast as others. Ms. Paley also stress that the teacher must have enormous amount of love to be with children every.
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on July 9, 1999
I am a 31 year old college student at Macon State College. I am majoring in education. I read the book White Teacher for my Introduction to Education 2000 class.Paley describes her progress in learning to deal more openly with her pupils' -and her own- perceptions of race.Vivian Paley examines a question that concerns teachers on all levels: How do I use my own behavior as a teacher to help my students learn to deal constructively with racial and social differences? I recommend this book to teachers, parents, and anyone else who wishes to understand him or herself better and is willing to continue to grow. The book was very inspiring and motivating.
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on May 4, 2016
'...Paley states that “children know they are each different in style and story; they listen eagerly and identify with one another’s separate visions of pleasure and pain, of strength and weakness, of love and loss. In their play, they reveal the intuitive and universal language that binds us all together” (2000, p. 135). As teachers it is our role to become a part of that story, to become a part of that binding. The more we can help children see that, though differences exist, there is something greater that makes us all human, the more we can help them to create a better world in which they can become agents for social justice and change.'

Read my full discussion of this book at [...]
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on December 30, 2012
This is a wonderful read for anyone working with children and families! Offering new perspective on how to look at race and culture! I would recommend this book to anyone working with children and families to take a different approach to working with these families!
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on January 1, 2015
Paley honestly represents the problems associated with teaching and explains how she uses reflective teaching to deal with them. She shows how she modified theory in the classroom in an unending effort to meet the needs of different ethnicities. Her giving credence and recognition to the wishes of parents results in her facing and dealing with issues of prejudice in all forms in her classroom and the reaction of black students. This reflects her unending efforts to make her classes one that all students can feel safe and comfortable in and hence better realize their potential.
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on August 3, 1999
Hello my name Jocelyn Foster and I read this book summer session 2 for my educ. class at Macon State College. I really I enjoyed the book because it showed how Mrs.Paley interacted with each one of her kids. The book showed the love that Mrs. Paley had for each of the children that would come to class. I also like the book because it shows if we took the time out to read it hard enough it shows how we as a society need to look past color; and, how children don't notice color as much as adults. I was just overwhelmed with the book myself because it inspired my on how to handle certain kids and their problems. The book is very motivational for anybody that has kids not just school teachers. At the end of the book it had one quote that extremely liked, "Children do not ask : Where do you come from? They ask:What role will you play? The children have much to teach us, if we but stop and listen." (Paley) I find this to be very true. Children know more and comprehend more than what we give them credit, so we must stop and listen to them. The book inspired me to let the childern be my teacher sometimes.
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on May 8, 2014
This is a great read for teachers who have taught for years or who are just starting out. This book really makes you think. I had to read it for a class but I will keep it on my shelf for sure. A quick read.
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on July 30, 2010
The book, White Teacher, was a wonderful book to read. The book was very well written and it addressed the feelings of a Jewish teacher who for the first time taught African American children and children of a race other than her own. It was the beginning of the era of integration and working with diversity was new to the world.

The author of the book was very sincere in her writing. She told of her feelings and of her curiosity to learn more about children of a different race. She also gave very good interventions for working with kindergarten students. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the promptness in which it was delivered. From the first page to the very last page, the book kept my attention with simple, easy to read writing which also served as good heartfelt advice. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about working with children of another race, culture, or background. The price for the book was exceptional, but the value of the book was priceless.
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on December 6, 2013
I bought this book for an education course. This was amazing read to understand how education has changed and accepting and dealing with racial, religous, and cultural differences. This book is writting from Paley's point of view as a teacher in the '70's dealing with intergration in the classroom. The dynamic of her interactions with students and parents is very interesting. A great read!
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