Diversity Matters!

I didn’t always want to be a teacher.  In fact, I remember being told in high school that I should be a teacher and I almost spit out the water I was drinking. At the time, I didn’t think teaching was for me; being a teacher didn’t seem that glamorous.

Every teacher I had growing up didn’t look like they had any more money than my parents and we were pretty poor. Even in high school, some teachers drove newer model cars had a couple more rings on their fingers and carried a designer purse or two, but they weren’t “balling” and my high school was 13th in the nation.

Let’s be honest; teachers aren’t rich.  When you’re growing up, you tend to choose professions you think will lead to you living a comfortable life – the white picket fence and the three car garage with vacations and shopping sprees galore.  That “glamorous” life isn’t the life of a teacher.

Why isn’t there more diversity in the teaching profession?

It’s important for children to see reflections of themselves teaching in their classroom.  Diversity in education, specifically for teachers is not just a buzz phrase, but a necessity as research has proven it to have favorable outcomes for students.

Tennessee believes that diversity in teaching is a necessary priority.  They allocated $200,000 in grants to improve diversity in our schools.

Metro Nashville Public Schools recognizes the importance of hiring more teachers of color and has taken steps to create and maintain a pipeline for more diversity in its schools. A report for Nashville concluded 68 percent of students identify as a minority (African American, Hispanic or Asian) while less than 26% if its teachers are.

A pipeline for teachers of color is necessary within the school system, not just for Nashville or Tennessee, but also nationally. As research indicates, a lack of diversity in the classroom hinders the long-term change in the school and the community. We can’t afford to not have diversity in the classroom.

One of the action we can take is to establish teachers as professionals – those who are just as important as the major league players or the NBA’s MVPs.

Maybe glamorizing the teaching profession as one where you can actually live comfortably and enjoy all of life’s pleasures would also bring more diversity to the profession.

Teachers aren’t rich in dollars; that’s not why we do it.  But we have riches unmeasured – because we enrich our students’ lives each day and have priceless moments of pride, joy and sometimes exhaustion knowing we are committed to providing a child – your child – a foundation for which they can choose the life they want to live.