If teacher demographics matched students, you’d expect roughly the same proportion of white/non-white on both sides. In Minnesota, roughly 32% of students are of color or American Indian. Teachers of color, on the other hand, make up only 4% of the teacher corp.
What's the Big Deal?
When students see themselves in the educators that build the many experiences of their early years, their identity is validated and knowledge is culturally contextualized for deeper understanding.
An absence of leaders who represent their communities means an absence of lived experiences that could be part of a larger narrative. Even when leaders unlike their communities are well-meaning, lived experiences are most effectively conveyed when those representing are like those being represented.
More teachers of color means more chances for students of all colors to share their experiences and be part of the bigger stories in life.
Like a forest, a community needs all types of life in order to thrive. Trees, insects, birds, and fish are all vastly different from each other, but each play an equally important role in helping everyone else survive.
Having a diverse group of teachers gives students positive role models that look like them, helping them see that they, too, can help their communities doing what they love.
Seeing people who look like us in positions of authority, renown, and empowerment shows us that we can achieve those same seats of influence. By having teachers of color present in our schools, helping to guide students on to being their best selves, we also empower those same students to fully present themselves and their aspirations to the world, whatever those may be.
- Minnesota is a great place to live and teach.
- Livable wages
- School districts offer great health benefits
- defined benefit pension plan that comes with a promise toward a more financially secure retirement.
Who else imprints?
What are other jobs you know of that use teaching as part of their work? Give a shout-out here!