Training Sessions and Long Nights

This past week has been a hectic and stressful one but I am glad to be here at Virginia Wesleyan College and teaching in the Breakthrough Program. This past week I have sat through numerous sessions discussing various topics, such as “Why Education is important?” “The Role of a Teacher”,  and “Active Participation”. It has been very interesting to learn about these subjects with a group of students who are very interested in education. But at times I feel like I am the odd one out. Out of my teaching cohort, I am one of four students of color (3 Black and 1 Latino) and I am the only student who comes from a low-income neighborhood (A majority of the students are from this area and have attended Norfolk Academy before entering college). My colleagues do not at all make me feel inferior and so far I have enjoyed the connections that are forming between us. But I do wonder how it will be on the first day of classes, when my fellow teachers who are not of color walk into their classroom and see the faces of students who do not look like them physically and do not come from similar backgrounds of the teachers.

During one of the sessions, we all had a conversation on the topic of privilege and how we all can attempt to eliminate any disconnect that may happen between our students and ourselves do to our own privilege. For example, it may be better for us to use the computer provided to us in our classrooms, instead of pulling out our MacBook or an iPad because many of the students could only dream of being able to have items like this. Most of our students come from the Norfolk area and they are all high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds. It is extremely important that we all work to create an environment of inclusivity and attempt to diminish any level of privilege that we may have over our students.

This week I read an article about the lack of teachers of color by Cepeda (2015) who explains that this lack of teachers of color may be attributed to “A recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce” which details that many students who go into careers that “help” others often time have a hard time repaying loans and debt due to the low median income of their job. There is a major issue in making the teaching profession appealing to young college graduates. If teachers were paid more and respect and prestige were again associated with the teaching profession, maybe then you would see more qualified teachers of color who are passionate about education in classrooms across the country. But because the profession is so under-valued and disrespected, there is a constant negative stigma driving away potential teachers into other well-paying professions. With the program I create at WM School of Education, I hope to create teachers of color who are passionate and well equipped to enter the education world and for a cycle to begin where students of color decide to become teachers and help to restore the respect and prestige to the career of teaching that it so rightfully deserves.

This upcoming week, I will continue to work on my major marketing push for my research interviews and I am currently in the process of scheduling an interview. I feel very good about where I am thus far in my research project and I look forward to continuing to combine my experiences here with Breakthrough with my research passion and produce some really great research and tangible results that have a lasting impact on the community, and one day the world.

 

Bibliography

  • Cepeda, E. (2015, June 11). Cepeda: Hurdles stand in way of recruiting quality teachers. Retrieved June 14, 2015, from http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/jun/11/hurdles-stand-in-way-of-recruiting-quality-teacher/