Kenneth Varner, assistant professor of elementary education and foundations at LSU, wants American teachers to rethink their racial identities in order to help their teaching styles.
According to The Daily Reveille, Varner has written "Working Through Whiteness: Examining White Racial Identity and Profession with Pre-Service Teachers." In his book, Varner argues that it is important for teachers to find their own racial identity to better their teaching. Given that our experiences in the world shape who we are, it is beneficial to recognize how those experiences influence how we interact with others before walking into a classroom of children.
Varner notes that 80-90% of teachers today are white, yet the majority of students are not. Before working with children of different backgrounds, Varner notes that it is important to first understand one's own identity. For teacher candidates that may be preparing to go into a classroom of diverse racial identities, it is important to reflect on how they see race because it influences how they interact with children.
Varner grew up and taught in Rochester, which has heavily influenced this theories on race. He notes that tension around race was always present, at school with kids and teachers of various races, and at home where his own parents struggled with their view of race. This tension led Varner to realize that race is a part of his life as it is everyone's life, and it has a profound impact on interactions with others.
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