Supporting Minority Teachers

When attending teacher workshops or in-service trainings, I have noticed one thing in common among elementary school teachers in Tennessee and surrounding states. It appears that most teachers in this area are white females. It is very rare to have over a few male teachers at these conferences. There are also very few teachers from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures.

It also appears that white teachers must be the common majority in other areas of the country. There has been an identified shortage of male and minority teachers among public schools across the country.

Several Midwestern universities also made this discovery in 1993. By 1994, an organization was formed to help include minority groups in teacher education programs. The organization, Minority Teacher Education Association (MTEA), showed need for the establishment for a grant, Minority Teacher Identification Enrichment Program (MTIEP).

The grant and association has helped identify students at community college, high school, and middle school levels that would serve as good education program candidates. These students are given important information pertaining to education programs. They are also included in activities to enrich their education. The students are given support to help them succeed in school.

The program consists of mentoring and support activities as well as programs to direct students in the direct of earning a teaching degree. The association has a summer school program to help students prepare for their teaching career.

The program has seen success by having members graduate from a teacher education program and enter into teaching at the public school level.

I think that having minority groups in the teaching profession is important. Our students need to experience having daily contact with those from different backgrounds. Secluding our children from teachers and others that are different from them can also seclude them from a great world of learning.

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