I don't know if I should have reacted the way I did but I am glad I was the teacher she chose to open up to because my childhood was similar to little Lisa's experiences at times. I told her that I was just like her. I said, "I also had a hard time growing up when I was a little girl but I did something really special." I told her that I wanted to be different from my family so I tried really hard in school so that I could go to college. I explained that no matter what other people do she always has the power to choose who she becomes.
I think Gay would call my reaction to Lisa an example of "culturally responsive caring" which places
“teachers in an ethical, emotional, and academic partnership with ethnically diverse students, a partnership that is anchored in respect, honor, integrity, resource sharing, and a deep belief in the possibility of transcendence” (Gay, 2000, p. 52). Caring is a moral imperative, a social responsibility,and a pedagogical necessity. It requires that teachers use “knowledge and strategic thinking to decide how to act in the best interests of others . . . [and] binds individuals to their society, to their communities, and to each other”(Webb,Wilson, Corbett,&Mordecai, 1993, pp. 33-34). "
Delpit says "appropriate education for poor children and children of color can only be devised in consultation with adults who share their culture." Here lays the importance of parent and community involvement in curricula. In my P248 class, we often talk about low Social Economic Class (SES). We discuss how it might effect the way a person learns. The problem I see with Delpit's conclusion is that it is based on generalizations, though I understand the source. Not all kids of color have authoritative parents. Not all poor kids are developmentally inferior. Lisa is a wonderful reader, for instance.
During my last visit Mrs. Shipman asked the girl to share her writing with the class and Lisa just froze. She wouldn't utter a word. Mrs. Shipman looked at me and mouthed, "something is wrong". Apparently this was odd behavior from Lisa.
A time before this, on the playground, Lisa didn't want to play with the other kids; she would rather stand right next to me. She told me, "I think you're like my mommy". Could I be affecting Lisa's emotions so heavily that it makes her uncomfortable in class?