Most of my blogs focus on the experiences of Black students and teachers. I’m a Black woman. I️ write about what I️ know. Recently I️ wrote about the differences in expectations that White and Black teachers tend to have for their students.
Almost immediately after posting that particular blog, the “What about White Teachers?” and “What about White students?” comments started popping up.
Let me just clarify: that’s not what I choose to write about so please stay focused. Trying to derail the main point of my blog with insertions of the needs of White teachers and students is irrelevant. It’s like Black Lives Matter versus All Lives Matter. We, as people of color, can never talk about ourselves without White people making a fuss — even when they dominate the field, like they do in the teaching profession.
What’s that about?
Why Is it that every time I write about Black teachers or students someone feels the need to tell me about all teachers and all children?
There’s little equity in education, as is the case in most arenas of society, so I’m always going to write about the needs of those Black and Brown children who are overlooked and underserved. Are White children experiencing these same disparities? Not to my knowledge and if they are, chances are greater that their needs will be adequately addressed in a timely fashion in comparison to that of their Black and Brown peers. I’m not making this stuff up, nor am I a separatist or a racist so please don’t be mad at the ever-so-eloquent messenger, yours truly.
Black teachers play a role in the lives of our students that only we can fulfill — no substitutes. This has nothing to do with whether White teachers are good teachers or if Black teachers are being hired just because they’re black. I hear both of these perspectives a lot and they are not only faulty but insulting. There are best practices that effective and highly-effective teachers imbue that are just that — best practices. They have nothing to do with the color of his/her skin. To suggest that a teacher would be hired simply because of their skin color is no different than believing that affirmative action gets Black students with 1.7 GPAs into Harvard University just because they are Black. Both postulations are ridiculous and have no bearing on the plethora of reasons why Black teachers are a must in the classroom — especially those classrooms filled with Black students.
As comprehensively stated in an educational study featured at The Undefeated,
As role models, parental figures and advocates, they [Black teachers] can build relationships with students of color that help those students feel connected to their schools. And they are more likely to be able to enhance cultural understanding among white colleagues, teachers and students. Acting as “warm demanders,” they more frequently hold high expectations for all students and use connections with students to establish structured classroom discipline. Furthermore, they are more likely to teach in high-need schools that predominantly serve students of color and low-income students. Black teachers especially are more likely to stay in schools serving black students.
Any highly-qualified teacher can teach anyone. Nevertheless, only a Black teacher understands what it’s like to be a Black child within our educational system and our global community. This understanding can not be taught in any teacher preparation course. When are school districts filled with Black children who claim they care about the students they are charged with serving and about closing the ever-widening achievement gap going to catch on and actively pursue a real conveyance of equitable practice in education by hiring Black teachers? I’m waiting….…