Creating Reflections: My Drive to Inspire and Develop the Next Generation of Black Male Teachers

“What made you become an educator?” My answer is always the same, “What else would I do?”  I know I could have pursued another career, but now I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else. I began my career as a high school teacher and although I am no longer in the classroom, I feel like I never stopped being a teacher. I taught at a traditional public school, but then spent time teaching at a state takeover charter school. Somewhere in between, I found a greater calling. I wanted to inspire and develop the next generation. I wanted to get more black male teachers into the classroom. I wanted to do that with high school students. For me, it is about creating reflections. I want to create reflections for black boys to see themselves as teachers. Teaching and being an educator is bigger than me. This job is not about my individual accomplishments, but about the accomplishments of the masses.  I want to leave a mark. I wanted to leave my imprint on the profession. The best way to do that is to inspire the next generation.

On Wednesday, July 26th, I had the opportunity to participate in the XQ: Super Schools Bus Tour when they made a stop in Indianapolis. They hosted a Changemaker Session which allowed individuals to give a three minute pitch on what they are trying to implement to make a change in Indianapolis. My pitch was to create reflections for Black boys. My hope was to garner support for the idea for a Teacher Cadet Program that would inspire and develop the next generation of Black male teachers. Here is my three minute pitch at the event:

Good evening, my name is David McGuire. I want to talk to you briefly about the importance of creating reflections for Black boys.

Growing up in K-12, I had one Black male teacher - just one, despite attending a large demographically diverse school district here in Indianapolis. Let’s look at the state of education for Black boys. About 80% of the teachers are White females and the school leaders are White males. I see three problems with the current state of education in regards to diversity: schools do not reflect the students they serve, Black boys do not see themselves as teachers, and Black boys are falling through the cracks. Black boys represent lowest performing students in schools and Black males makeup the lowest percent of teaching staffs. Has anyone ever considered this correlation? No Black boy should experience a teaching staff I experienced growing up. Black male teachers do not just impact Black students, but they impact all other students as well. The experience of having a Black male teacher will impact kids’ perspective of Black men for the rest of their lives.

It is time to commit to changing the reflections our students see when they look at school. Schools have to be intentional about what Black boys experience throughout their education. We need to recruit more Black male teachers and create pathways that allow Black male teachers to grow, achieve, and succeed.  Let’s start by recruiting Black boys to pursue teaching as a career while in high school.  Let’s come together to mentor and support Black male students at the university level as they begin their journey as a teacher and let’s elevate the voices and status of our current Black male teachers. High schools must begin to create exposure to teaching and mentoring.  That is why this fall my foundation Educate ME will begin doing pops of Educate ME Cadet Programs to encourage juniors and seniors in Indianapolis high schools to consider teaching.

Our biggest barrier is the devaluing of the teacher profession. Too often teachers complain about their job instead of celebrating it. I truly believe the break down in the community happened when the teaching profession lost its value. When the community was at its peak, Black males were the stalwarts of the community. You want to impact a community, you must impact the schools and classrooms in the community.

I am asking for your support as I embark on this journey to encourage Black boys to consider teaching. I am asking that we change the narrative surrounding teaching. When you see Black boys, let’s encourage them and not deter them from considering teaching. The teacher is the gatekeeper to all other professions and it is about time we be the same for our own. I want to leave you with this, “Educate a child you educate an individual, but if you educate a child to become a teacher, you educate the future.”

Thank you all for listening. Let’s start creating reflections for our Black boys.

It was great opportunity to share my passion and my vision with other changemakers in Indy. Not only did I share my vision, but I was also able to make some great connections to eventually make my dream a reality.

The mission of Educate ME Foundation is to increase the number of teachers of color in Indianapolis. We will fulfill our mission by creating pathways for teachers of color to grow, achieve, and succeed. If you would like to support our Educate ME Cadet program by being a mentor to our Cadet Students, please visit our website www.educatemefoundation.org

 

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David McGuire

Mr. McGuire is a middle school teacher in Indianapolis, Teach Plus Policy Fellow, and currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Indiana State University for Educational Leadership. Driven by the lack of having an African American male teacher in his classrooms growing up, David helped launched the Educate ME Foundation, which is geared towards increasing the number of African American male teachers in the classroom. A born and raised Hoosier, he is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in Indianapolis. He describes his educational beliefs as a reformer grounded in the best practices of traditional public schools, where he was mentored by strong leaders. David graduated from Central State University with a degree in English and also holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.