In June 2017, Kelly Gavin Zuckerman, Program Coordinator/Advisor/and Lecturer in the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program, spoke with David White, Haverford College Class of 2017, about his post-graduation plans.
What is next for you?
I will be working as a Liberty Teaching Fellow for the West Philadelphia KIPP Academy. For the first year, I like to call it an “expedited apprenticeship.” I am the secondary teacher in the classroom underneath a head teacher, but I gradually gain responsibility and then by the end of second year, I am the head teacher and he is the secondary teacher. I will also be taking courses at the Lincoln Graduate School for Education in West Philly that is sort of affiliated with KIPP.
In which content area and grade level will you ultimately receive your credential?
Elementary and Special Education.
What appeals to you about elementary education?
I’m a five year-old. I have all of the positive qualities of a five-year-old and many of the negative qualities too. I’m impatient. I can get irritated very easily. I’m incredibly curious. I love to explore ant the littlest things will get me super-duper excited, just like a five-year-old. And I feel like I can talk to little kids pretty easily. I think that I understand them pretty well and so that helps as well.
What excites you most about this next step?
I get to be in an environment that I’ve never been in before. I grew up in a private, progressive school. At KIPP, I will be working primarily with low-income individuals. I grew up around middle to upper class individuals and I am excited for new experiences and for being able to open my eyes more and to be able to see the world from different perspectives than what I have just been open to right now. Also, I get to teach. I get to be around six-year-olds and that I am just so excited for.
How do you think your education studies will inform your work at KIPP?
I don’t know how to phrase it, but I’m a white cis-gendered male coming from a semi-sheltered private high school. Coming to Haverford in general, but also in the education courses where we dug a whole lot deeper into social justice issues, I was able to, I don’t want to say open my eyes, because I am definitely still not there, I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I was able to kind of get it a little more and see why someone in high school who has grown up in an urban public school system, why they might not come to class as a sophomore or junior and understanding that it may not be just because they don’t want to come to school, but because of everything from the minute that they were born leading up to that, and all of the things that they have had to deal with. Understanding why a kid might misbehave or act out and approaching it with that information in mind.
What is a favorite memory of your time in the Education Program?
It was with Multicultural Education with Jody Cohen and we would go to a women’s correctional facility nearby, and I was the only self-identifying male in the room and it was just this humbling experience where I really had to be hyper-aware of my masculinity and of who I was as a cis-gendered white male. I was one of the only white people in the room as well, and that whole experience, coupled with some of the readings that we were doing, was extremely humbling. Normally I am extremely talkative, but I was like ‘no chill’ for a fair amount and then I would start to talk a little bit more and I would talk with some of the women there and hear their stories and it was understanding the prison system, understanding how they grew up, and this whole context, and just getting more and more context was incredible.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy your placements. Really, look forward to them, if you can. Also, do more of the readings. Spend your time reading more. The readings are really dense but still do them because if you do, it makes class more enjoyable, and if class is more enjoyable then the readings are more enjoyable. It’s circular.