Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
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.