In the Sun's House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation

In the Sun's House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation

by Kurt Caswell
     
 

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In the year he spent teaching at Borrego Pass, a remote Navajo community in northwest New Mexico, Kurt Caswell found himself shunned as persona non grata. His cultural missteps, status as an interloper, and white skin earned him no respect in the classroom or the community—those on the reservation assumed he would come and go like so many teachers had before. But

Overview

In the year he spent teaching at Borrego Pass, a remote Navajo community in northwest New Mexico, Kurt Caswell found himself shunned as persona non grata. His cultural missteps, status as an interloper, and white skin earned him no respect in the classroom or the community—those on the reservation assumed he would come and go like so many teachers had before. But as Caswell attempts to bridge the gap between himself and those who surround him, he finds his calling as a teacher and develops a love for the rich landscape of New Mexico, and manages a hard-won truce between his failings and successes.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In a welcome departure from the old trope of a white teacher going to teach students from an ethnic minority group and finding great success where others have failed, this monograph details Caswell's trials and tribulations teaching Navajo students in the Borrego Pass community in New Mexico for one year. Caswell (creative writing & literature, Texas Tech Univ.) documents the missteps that led to his alienation from his students, their parents, and the school board. Poignantly, he comes to see that although he came to appreciate the beauty of the locale and its people, he also could not wait to get away after the completion of the school year. VERDICT This beautifully written book serves as a cautionary tale that diversity cannot be taught in a classroom but needs to be experienced, no matter how difficult. Required reading for anyone interested in education or diversity issues.—John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595340917
Publisher:
Trinity University Press
Publication date:
04/14/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
396 KB

Meet the Author

Kurt Caswell is a writer and an assistant professor of creative writing and literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University. He was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and grew up in the Cascade Range in Oregon. Caswell has also taught in Hokkaido, Japan, on the Navajo Reservation, and at schools in Arizona, California, and Wyoming. His work has appeared in Isotope, Janus Head, Matter, Ninth Letter, Northern Lights, Orion, Potomac Review, Unbound Press, and West Wind Review, among other publications.

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