White Teacher By Vivian Gussin Paley Essay
White Teacher By Vivian Gussin Paley
The book is entitled; White Teacher. This is written by Vivian Gussin Paley. She’s the recipient of the tenth NCTE Outstanding Educator in the English Language Arts Awards. Ms.Paley is a distinguished national or international educator who has made major contributions to the field of language arts in elementary education (URL1). She was a in the field of teaching for thirty-seven years at the University of Chicago Laboratory School.
Composed of 160 pages, published in 2000 by Harvard University Press but previously published 1989. This book was copyright in 1979, 1989, 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. White Teacher was previously published by Campbridge: Harvard University Press, 1989. This said book was reprinted with a new preface in the year 2000. Reading and analyzing the essence of this book was required by the instructor for a book report project.
The author Vivian Gussin Paley is the main character of this book. She is in the field of teachings particularly kindergarten. She teaches in a public school with predominantly white children in a middle class neighborhood. Ms. Paley grown up in Chicago, but her first teaching was in the south. She lives there many years and teach only white student. She believes in the integration of classes. When she was forced to teach only white children she insisted for the reason the she’s always dream of visiting black children in their own home. One of her student is a black child namely Alma Franklin. She was five years old, very shy and tame child. On the first day of school she watches her classmates carefully and imitates them and simply got along with the other student.
Other characters are Mrs. Franklin, Alma’s mother, who works as a housekeeper of the Rossman’s. Who believes in spanking a child if have done something wrong. Then, Susan, a pale blonde girl, first approached and played with Alma on the first day of school. Another child named Paul who’s comparing Alma with a chocolate pudding; he’s one of her classmates. Then Donald who first hurt Alma when she wants to play with blocks but the tower fell down when the black girl puts one at the very top. He pushed her away and bumped her head on the edge of the door.
The White Teacher is nonfiction type of book, wherein, it discusses the educational experiences and teachings that a kindergarten goes through. The story happened somewhere in North of Chicago, wherein Ms. Paley was teaching an integrated school with dominant white student kindergarten. She was in the public school teacher with middle class children are enrolled.
The story plot mainly happened inside the school premises with lots of children. The author’s intention is try to convince the reader that no matter what the color of your skin one must feel comfortable with their emotions and differences. As she said, “every human must talk to one another about races and treat blacks with respects”. What the person’s race she is entitled to her own rights most especially children. Ms. Paley’s reason for bringing up this topic is to reader is not to be judgmental on the persons color and identity, treating them as your own will be greatly appreciated by them.
My final thoughts on the book “White Teacher” by Vivian Gussin Paley are that is emotional and sensitive to the issue of racism in America. It signifies the humane side of the author with regards to the racial prejudice of the society. Even though the setting is in the school wherein young children learn, they early understood that the particular color of skin is an issue. The children’s perception among black is quiet rigid, they know at an early age that those black children should not exist among them.
The author tackled a lot of lesson on this book including the existence of African-American in the society, early childhood education and the segregation of races, teaching methods and materials among preschool and kindergarten. As I quote the publisher, “Vivian Paley presents a moving personal account of her teaching experiences in kindergarten in an integrated school wherein white dominantly exist.”(URL2)
I am fascinated on her patience with regards on dealing with both black and white kids, but more attention and care to the black child. I really felt the pain on Alma when she was pushed by a kid and bump her head and cried silently and felt alone and then came Ms. Paley to assist her. What I like about this book is that the author easily conveys her message in simple yet touching words. Easy to understand words are being used so any age could assess the essence of what she has written.
There’s some event on the book wherein she wants to talk to the mother of a black kid, my point is that she was too emotionally attached to the student, though sensitivity was being shown I find it amusing to preempt the privacy of the child’s family. But this will not affect the integrity of the author for the reason that her intention is for the good of all the races in the world. Racial discrimination should end because we are created by God equally. Human rights is entitled to everybody, diversity should not hinder the right to live. I recommend this book to every teachers, parents and students.
- Paley, Vivian Gussin. White Teacher. Published 2000
Harvard University Press