Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kohl: Rare and Candid Glimpse Inside the Educational System

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Task 608.2.2

Essay - Death at an Early Age

In this book, written by Johnathan Kohl, we are given a rare and candid glimpse inside the educational system in the city of Boston in the 1960’s. As Kohl describes the treatment that minority students endured at the hands of their teachers, it becomes clear that the title of the book is an accurate depiction of the times. As we read about teachers calling students terrible names and treating minority students with contempt and disgust, it is apparent how the spirit of the students were slowly dying inside. Although this was over fifty years ago, this type of treatment still occurs everyday in schools all over the nation. Whether a child be a minority race, have a learning disability or have behavior issues, it is not uncommon for them to be treated in a way that negatively effects their self esteem, causes them to dislike school and eventually, little by little, takes away their hope. No child should be left hopeless. Everyone needs something to be proud of, whether it be one small talent they possess or just one person who believes in and respects them. It is the job of a teacher to build a child’s self-esteem and self-respect and above all, their hope for the future. Without hope, a child will not aspire or dream. There must be procedures in place to ensure that teachers know what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of interacting with children. I have experienced this first hand in my personal life. My son has Asperger’s syndrome. He can be difficult to handle. Because he misreads social cues he wold often misunderstand what his teachers were asking him and answer incorrectly. He repeatedly told me that his teacher yelled at him and didn’t like him. He wouldn’t even tell them when he was sick because he didn’t want to make them angry. One of his teachers screamed at him so loud at the end of the school day that he was literally shaking when he arrived home. I understood their frustration but I didn’t...
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