Black male teachers often shoulder extra disciplinary burdens, study suggests
- A recent study conducted in Boston Public Schools reveals that black male teachers are often called upon to deal with discipline issues regarding students in other classrooms, in addition to their own, Chalkbeat reports.
- The study indicates that many black male teachers feel that peers and administrators consider their primary role to be a disciplinarian, rather than a teacher — a position that some teachers resent, while others don’t.
- Since black male teachers account for only 2% of the teaching workforce nationwide and are more likely to leave the classroom, schools need to make sure that these teachers are being treated fairly and are not overburdened with disciplinary duties, the article says.
“According to some African American male teachers, the 'invisible tax' is imposed on them when they are the only or one of only a few nonwhite male educators in the building. It is paid, for example, when these teachers, who make up only 2% of the teaching force nationally, are expected to serve as school disciplinarians based on an assumption that they will be better able to communicate with African American boys with behavior issues,” King said in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post.
Effective black male teachers are scarce in schools, but they are in demand because they tend to have a greater impact on student achievement and graduation rates, especially of black male students, who often see them as role models or, at least, as someone who truly understands them. Recruiting and retaining black male teachers is such a problem that cities are forming special programs, such as NYC Men Teach, to address this issue.
However, these teachers, once recruited, are often enlisted by colleagues as disciplinarians, cultural translators, or counselors for students of color, placing an additional burden on them that may drive them from school settings. Travis Bristol, one of the authors of the Boston study, recommends ways to recruit and retain black male teachers in a policy brief that contains valuable advice for school administrators.