Through Our Eyes: Perspectives and Reflections From Black Teachers

Reads and Resources

In this brief from the Education Trust, the authors draw on information from a series of focus groups with Black teachers from around the country in order to articulate the challenges and perspectives of Black educators. The teachers often cited a strength–the ability to relate to students of color–as also being a source of limitation in other facets of their professional lives. They felt they were often pigeonholed as “enforcers,” rather than educators. As a result, many felt their roles were reduced to disciplinarians for their whole school, diverting them from professional development, planning time, and time with students, and opportunities to teach at different performance levels. Other concerns expressed by Black teachers included:

  • The perception among colleagues that they were fit to teach only students of color.
  • A sense of obligation to serve Black students because other teachers may not be inclined to do so.
  • A lack of recognition from colleagues for their contributions and work effort.

The perspectives expressed in this study help shed light on why many school districts continue to face the problem of high turnover among Black faculty and, in so doing, offer a starting point for administrators and teachers to address the issue.

Read the full report here.