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ERIC Number: ED455179
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Pages: 33
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A First-Year White Teacher Working with Children of Color: An Investigation into the Meaning of "Trial by Fire."
Marx, Sherry
The idea that a white teacher working predominantly with children of color might have problems because of the inability to understand where the students are coming from or because of racial/ethnic biases is supported in various branches of educational literature. This study investigates a first-year white teacher working in a middle school where the students were predominantly children of color. Most of the children had economic situations low enough that they received free or reduced-price lunch. Teacher and researcher met seven times during the 15-week semester for open-ended interviews. Interviews were tape-recorded and analyzed for themes and patterns through a grounded theory approach. Data and a final paper were shared with the teacher, a means of member checking that lent to the triangulation of the data and a tool for the teacher to use. Findings suggest that support services offered to the teacher by the principals and by her mentor teacher were clearly lacking in "educative" qualities. The kinds of assistance she needed--clear delineations of policies and procedures; proactive advice on classroom management; supportive, instructive listeners; and a sense of collaboration with other teachers and administrators--were unavailable. The teacher usually adored her students, but she began to resent them as the administration pressed her with rules, blame, and the threat of consequences for her students' underachievement. This teacher's case shows that even caring, self-reflective teachers who love their students can buy into deficit thinking and student-blaming when the school environment inculcates such practices. Contains 59 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A