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For many White women teachers and teachers in training – who represent the majority of our teaching force today – the issue of race is fraught with discomfort. It may challenge assumptions, evoke a sense of guilt, or give rise to a fear of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing.
This book presents the first-person stories of White women teachers who tell us not only how they have grappled with race in diverse classrooms, but how they continue to this day to be challenged by issues of colour and privilege. These are no stories of heroic feats or achievement of perfection, but stories of self-disclosure that lay bare their authors’ emotions, ideas, curiosity, vulnerability, and reflections as they engaged with race, and challenged practices of colour blindness and empathetic distance. Avoiding abstract educational lingo, these teachers come clean about the emotional cost of dealing with racism, White privilege, and fear of being racist in our rapidly diversifying schools. Admitting their cultural mistakes, they hope their readers can find a safe place to use theirs for honest dialogue and positive learning.
In approaching chapter authors for this book, the editors asked the writers to ask themselves, “Will my well-being and sense of self be at risk if I tell this story?” Recognising what’s at stake, they wanted writers who would be real with themselves.
The women in this book hope that their stories will resonate with readers, help them feel less alone, and give them courage to begin a dialogue with colleagues, friends, staff and administrators around race concerns. Each chapter concludes with a few questions to prompt self-reflection at home, or for use as exercises to use in small groups or staff development training.