What about now. At 22 years old, Michelle Kuo signed on with Teach for America and ended up in Helena-West Helena. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, raised in the suburban Midwest, with a mere five weeks of classroom training under her belt, Kuo was by all definitions "unqualified" — and a complete outsider. She arrived in Helena-West Helena confident her own love for the work of James Baldwin and other African-American writers could be easily passed on. What she wasn't prepared for was a school principal with her own attendance problem, poverty and familial dysfunction, and the realization that, in many ways, the African-American population in the Delta was left behind. Kuo's first year of teaching was, by her...
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A Q&A with Michelle Kuo