What’s missing from most American schools besides paper and pencils and some books, is a male presence in classrooms which can have a great impact on student learning. But even more scarce are Black and Latino male teachers, who are few and far between. Now a University of Illinois of Chicago program will help Chicago Public Schools fill the void and help more diverse students become teachers, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
This the inaugural year for the Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models at UIC – otherwise known as “Call Me MISTER” program. The program is aimed at young men and boys of color to change their thought process and help them understand that teaching is not a female-only profession, said Alfred Tatum, UIC’s dean of College of Education.
Students accepted into the program receive full tuition, room and board at UIC.
Jawaun Williams is one of six participants in the UIC program and graduated at the top of his high school class. He joined the program because he felt a need to give back.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to be taught by someone who looked like me. I never had any male black teachers,” Williams said.
“I’ve only had one black teacher in my life. It was something I was used to, but as I’ve grown older, I realized that it is pretty weird that black men weren’t in my field.”
“Teachers taught me how to navigate, not only high school, but life. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher.” the 19-year-old said.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, at the Chicago Public Schools “84 percent of the student body population are black or Latino, but 42.7 percent of the system’s teachers are black or Latino.”
“As soon as I graduate I want to go back to the South Side of Chicago and teach in the same neighborhood I came out of,” Williams said.