Sarah Sansbury is a middle and high school English teacher in
Georgia. She graduated from the Honors Program at Augusta State University with
a bachelor's degree in English education and later completed her master's in curriculum
I had lunch with my preschooler recently. In line with my daughter was a little girl dressed in an embroidered churidar suit, a traditional garment in Southeast Asia. As she walked, the decorations around her collar and the gold bracelets around her wrist jingled merrily with each step. I told her how I loved her outfit. The assistant teacher leaned over and explained that the little girl was celebrating something, “I think the birthday of a god.” She looked down at the girl, “Isn't that right?” The girl looked blankly back. I then quickly interjected, “Honey, are you celebrating Diwali?” At that, the little girl nodded, grinned widely and skipped over to her table. The assistant teacher looked up at me and stared perplexed, “How did you know that?”
As new generations come along, we hope the old beliefs mired in hate and separation will die out. The lines that once separated us continue to fade. We have evidence. Our society is more accepting now than it was decades ago of multiracial relationships, multiracial families and multiracial children. Blogger Pamela Cytrynbaum says the new generation is “rejecting the color lines” that once constrained them. The New York Times writer Susan Saulny poignantly describes the younger generation as having a “more fluid sense of identity.”
Bill Gates said there would never have been a Microsoft were it not for his teachers, Fred Wright and Ann Stephens. I have to wonder if, at the time, they realized what influence they had. Was the year that they taught Gates one that stood out above the rest, or was it a school year in which they did what they always did—taught to their best ability?
“I'm just not good at math,” my daughter grumbled under her breath. I was surprised. Where did she get that idea, I wondered. As far as I can remember she has loved numbers and was quick to pick up math concepts. However, I began to see her confidence slowly wither and her frustration rise. It started in the 2nd grade. And, now, she sat at the kitchen table with pencil in hand, ready to give up, convinced she just couldn't do it anymore.