Teaching When the World Is on Fire by Lisa Delpit is an outstanding book that combines essays of experienced teachers, principals, and directors from different backgrounds and stories. It considers social, political, cultural, and ecological problems concerning society today and gives practical advice on how to manage students in these difficult times. Teaching When the World Is on Fire can be helpful for middle school students and teachers, as it examines topics from both perspectives and holds a discussion on experiences relatable to many people. The book effectively organizes ideas from different education professionals. It explores social issues ignored in schools for many years, acknowledging the consequences of this ignorance and inspiring modern teachers to guide their students.
The organization of Teaching When the World Is on Fire allows the reader to navigate between the essays easily. All works in the book are sorted by their central themes, including politics, culture, safety matters, race, gender, sexual orientation, and climate change. This structure ensures coherence and allows readers to choose between the topics and read the information that concerns them the most. Teachers can effectively use this information and cite authors regarding specific urgent topics for their classes. Lisa Delpit writes a brief paragraph about every author before their essays. Details about the authors make the book reliable and relatable for the teachers, as they learn about the authors’ personal and educational backgrounds and work experiences. The organization of the book ensures coherence, simplicity, reliability, and relatability.
The social perception of what is appropriate and reasonable to discuss in the classroom changes over time. Teaching When the World Is on Fire gives teachers a good understanding of what social issues must be discussed with the students. For instance, Delpit (2021) examines the topic of gun violence and safety, criticizing Obama’s Rethink Discipline guidance and highlighting the fact that disciplinary rules discriminate against Hispanic and African American students. By discussing this and other cases of racism and violence at schools, the book emphasizes that teachers should raise awareness among students regarding racial prejudice and violence. Delpit presents essays on how to create a trusting environment in the classroom, help students who face racial discrimination, and fight against discriminatory rules at school. Teaching When the World Is on Fire advises what teachers should discuss with their classes and how education professionals can help their students.
Even though the book is written primarily for teachers, middle school students can find it interesting and helpful. The book can help students who are studying social sciences. It analyzes many significant topics and encourages inclusiveness and respectful, non-violent behavior. Delpit and other authors often consider issues from students’ perspectives. For example, Delpit (2021) describes herself and her thoughts on the political climate in the world when she was in the sixth grade. She mentions that she was terrified of some events, so her and other authors’ feelings and insights can be familiar to the students who live in a modern world with an unstable political situation. Students who read this book or get acquainted with it from teachers’ references can learn about social issues, living in these troubled times, respecting and embracing others’ cultures and identities, and managing conflicts.
Teaching When the World Is on Fire is an excellent source of teacher inspiration. The book brings together the works of educators, giving the teachers who read them a sense of unity. It acknowledges the challenging part of the profession and motivates teachers to stay strong despite the hardships to help improve children’s lives (Delpit, 2021). The book can also make teachers more confident in their decisions. In the essay “Yes, Race and Politics Belong in the Classroom,” the author calls for discussing controversial subjects in the classroom instead of avoiding them and gives recommendations on how to communicate with students effectively (Delpit, 2021). Such suggestions from fellow educators with much experience reassure that are teachers reading the book in their decisions and present ways to improve. The book unites educators who wrote the essays and those reading them, gives suggestions for improvement, and inspires teachers to try to make their classrooms better and safer.
Delpit presents various stories and ideas from educators of different backgrounds in Teaching When the World Is on Fire. The book discusses the political environment, safety matters, racial discrimination, religion, sexual orientation, gender, climate change, and how these concepts affect school students. Teaching When the World Is on Fire is well-written and has an excellent structure that makes the book coherent, simple, relatable, and reliable. It is a valuable resource for teachers as it explores whether they should discuss controversial matters in a classroom, advises on managing students, and suggests how teachers can improve to guide their students. It is useful for students because it helps to study social sciences, considers students’ perspectives regarding critical public concerns, raises awareness about urgent school problems, and encourages students to treat each other carefully and respectfully. Teaching When the World Is on Fire has great practical suggestions and is a helpful resource for school students and their teachers.
The value of Teaching When the World Is on Fire
Simple and reliable: The book has an excellent structure and coherence as it sorts essays by their central themes. Delpit provides brief information about the authors, showing that they are professionals in the educational field.
Assists teachers in managing students: The book provides information on social studies and encourages teachers to discuss social issues in the classroom. It advises how to discuss controversial topics in the classroom, assisting teachers in communicating with their students.
Helps students to study social sciences: Teaching When the World Is on Fire discusses urgent social problems and encourages inclusiveness and respect for people of any background. It helps students know more about the society around them and the issues that must be addressed.
Inspires teachers: The book motivates teachers to help make schools a safe space by giving suggestions for improvement and examining other educators’ experiences.
Delpit, L. (2021). Teaching when the world is on fire: Authentic classroom advice, from climate justice to black lives matter. The New Press.