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Importance of Teachers

FrigginSushi's picture

Though I feel this chapter from Delpit was extremely impactful as far as what a “warm demander” looks like and acts like, the beginning of this chapter really captivated me. Delpit talks about how important teachers are for students, but makes a distinction between teachers who teach at students from “more privileged backgrounds” vs students “who are not a part of the mainstream” (72).  This distinction is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as a first generation college student.

For me, one of the hardest things about coming to college was the level of academic rigor that was demanded of me. Mostly it was difficult to see myself struggling in these classes (that I had never experienced in the poorly funded high school that I came from) and see students who had been in private schools all their life not struggle. There was a difference and I think Delpit point it out. Both in her story about her daughter’s experience playing softball and her reframing of Gloria Ladson-Bilings words, Delpit says that in comparison to these privileged kids who can “manage to perform well in school in spite of poor teachers”, low income and culturally diverse students “depend upon schools to teach them whatever they need to know to be successful.

My mother could not help me with the kind of work I had to deal with my first semester here at Bryn Mawr. She had never had the experience. She had never taken similar course. I couldn’t use her as a resource for my academic struggle whereas other students who were not first generation college students could ask their father who is a professor at Hamilton College or their aunt who does bioengineering. For my entire life, I’ve relied on my teachers and professors to bring me success because I didn’t have any other role-models.