David Jamison walks the hall as a teacher at Hickory Ridge Elementary School. (SCS Twitter, screen capture)

by Curtis Weathers —

TSD education columnist Curtis Weathers

Recently, I was doing my usual early morning scan of all of the news articles from over the weekend when I came across this story about Blacks and male teachers and how they, for the last 10 years, have scored lower on teacher observations than their white and female counterparts.

Of course, after reading the story, I immediately started to fret.

My first thought was, here we go again. It’s already hard enough attracting males, in particular, Black males, to the teaching profession.

Now, in big, bold headlines, they have to hear that somehow the evaluation process may be biased against them.

News like this could continue to fuel concerns and drive Black male teachers out of the profession at a time when Tennessee and other states seek to diversify their teacher workforce.

After a moment of contemplation (and frustration), I decided to take a much more positive approach to thinking about and addressing this issue.

If you are a Black male, or any male for that matter, and you’re thinking about joining the ranks of classroom teachers in our public schools, WELCOME ABOARD!  We need you!  Don’t let an article like that discourage or dissuade you.

If you feel a tug in your soul to enter the teaching profession, especially in our nation’s public schools, it is because you have a calling.       I always have believed that there is no greater calling, other than the ministry, than that of a public-school teacher.

And know that while the challenges in our public-school classrooms are many, the rewards are great.

Teaching is not the highest paying profession on the planet, but it’s not the lowest paying profession either.

I don’t know many public-school teachers who teach in our schools for the sole purpose of getting rich. So, if that’s what you’re interested in, you may want to look elsewhere.

But public-school teachers have some of the richest moments and experiences in the classroom that money simply cannot buy.

The personal satisfaction that you can experience working with young people is incredible. But I must warn you, the heartaches can be devastating. But you can handle it!

When it comes to teaching our Black boys, your presence is sorely needed. A growing body of research indicates that students of color are more likely to succeed academically when taught by teachers of color.

And with the continued rise in fatherless homes, you may be the one male figure that can keep our children, especially our boys, on the straight and narrow.

Oh, and did you know that Black boys, who make up about 38 percent of our district’s total enrollment, account for over 65 percent of expulsions?

So maybe if you’re working as a teacher in our schools, you can help impact those numbers in a positive way.

Don’t be daunted by discouraging headlines or crummy news stories about how evaluators discriminate against Black people and males.

What else is new! It happens in other professional work environments as well.

Again, Black male teachers, we need you! Sign the contract. Answer your calling to the profession. Be that Black male teacher who makes a difference in our children’s lives. I promise, if you enter this profession with the right mindset and work hard to be really good at your craft, you WILL make a difference. 

(Follow TSD education columnist Curtis Weathers on Twitter (@curtisweathers); email: [email protected].)