Very good essay!
Originally posted on Women, Words, and Wisdom:
Lisa Delpit is Director of the Center for Urban Educational Excellence. She is the author of numerous books on educating children of poverty and color and on improving teacher education. As a child she experienced segregation growing up in Baton Rouge. She was one of a handful of students to integrate the catholic high school in her hometown. Her experiences teaching elementary children in Philadelphia led her to focus on language, literacy, and the teaching of writing. The following excerpt is from Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom.
A young Athabaskian Indian boy once looked at his teacher and asked, “When are we going to die?”The teacher to whom he addressed the question was surprised, but answered, “Well, none of us know when we are going to die, that is for a power beyond us to decide.” The young boy looked away and said softly, “Well, if we don’t know when we are going to die, then why do we have to go to school? Why can’t we just be happy?” That Native Alaskan teacher later said to me with tears in her eyes, “Why can’t we figure out ways to make that child happy in school?”