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6 Unique Things I Love About Being a Black Educator


6 Unique Things I Love About Being a Black Educator

I love being a Black educator – and it’s an important position. A study by Johns Hopkins University shows that Black students who have had one Black teacher by third grade are more likely to go to college. This highlights the utmost importance for students to be exposed to a diverse group of educators.

Here are some of the unique reasons I love being a Black educator:

1. Hair, hair, hair!

Students everywhere are experts at getting teachers off-topic. My students know that if they mention natural hair, we won’t finish any work. My Black students and I – girls and boys alike – look at styles during homeroom to select our next look and they are always teaching me new styles and techniques. It’s important for students to feel comfortable with being their whole selves in the classroom – hair and all. I’m proud of my hair and I’m glad I can help my students love theirs, too.

5. Being a role model for all students

In 2016, only 18% of all US educators were Black. Many of my friends never had a Black teacher all through school. I’m part of changing that for future generations. I love that all my students can see a Black, college-educated woman standing before them each and every day. I’m proud that I can show all children that they can be whoever they want to be.

2. Giving the “look”

Every experienced teacher has a look – the one that strikes fear into the hearts of any student who dares to defy teacher expectations. But that terrifying “Black mama” or “Black dad” look gets the job done especially well every time. I think it’s something so ingrained in our DNA that you don’t even need to be a parent to unlock “the stare.

3. Sharing our culture in a way that’s cool

Not every teacher can pull off every teacher move. I know that I can’t do the whole, “1,2.3! Eyes on me!” because it doesn’t fit my image as the “hip” teacher. However, one thing I can pull off as a Black educator are Flocabulary lessons. For those of you who don’t know, Flocabulary has educational rap songs that SLAP. Teaching these lessons definitely hit different when your people invented hip hop. When students see their culture reflected in classroom materials, it gives a sense of familiarity which says that their culture is important, relevant, and worthy of academic praise.

4. Connection with parents

As a parent, I feel a sense of familiarity when my son’s teachers are also Black. There’s a secret look between us that communicates to our children, “We have eyes everywhere and before you even think about misbehaving, we will know.” Although it may not be true, the kids don’t know it and that’s all that matters.

6 . Self-love

Representation matters. Almost every year, I have at least one student tell me that I am their first Black educator. It’s my duty to make sure all my students see themselves in every text, picture, and style. I know they appreciate the effort. I encourage students to be their whole selves around me. It makes me proud that my students can look at me and say, “I matter in this space!”

Studies show that all students benefit from teachers of color, so it is truly time to recognize what’s uniquely awesome about being a Black teacher.

Why I love being a Black educator

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6 Unique Things I Love About Being a Black Educator

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Asha Sellers

Newbie

Asha is a 7th-grade ELA teacher, new mom, and Army wife. She likes to take her dogs, Langston Chews and Zulu, to the park and play board games. Her favorite things are eating, going out to eat, and the smell of food being cooked.

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