By: Rann Miller

The hiring process is always tough because while looking for the “perfect” teacher candidate, you’ll never find them. You just hope to find an individual who is a good fit for students and the school culture. Too often, when hiring teachers of color, the hiring team may get too pre-occupied with fit, content knowledge and qualifications of those candidates because quite frankly, they’re not white.

This is not to say that white people in the position to hire are inherently racist. But it is to say that people hire who they are familiar with and considering the demographics of teachers and administrators, one can argue that white educators are a bit too familiar when hiring teachers for their buildings.

Yet, that doesn’t have to be the norm.

School districts desiring to hire more teachers of color can employ a set of strategies to help with that effort. They may be a bit non-traditional, but the current state of education requires that district leaders use different tactics to get the desired results. DIVERSITY in Ed offers some tips when in the hiring process to apply when consider diverse candidates.

  1. Be willing to hire teachers of color who may not have all the qualifications checked. Due to teacher shortages all over the country, states have relaxed traditional prerequisites for entering the classroom. Many of these prerequisites e.g. praxis tests and licensure fees, were a barrier to candidates of color. Now is a great opportunity to hire candidates of color who need to be in your classroom, while supporting them as they obtain their certification.
  2. Understand that a core mission for teachers of color, when hiring, is supporting students of color. For example, a 2020 study of teachers of color motivations in New Jersey found that teachers of colors felt they had deep ties and connections with their communities and they were responsible to challenge the status quo and promote social justice through their teaching and instructions in classrooms. Teachers of color are passionate about transforming schools for students of color. That should be the goal of any district; hiring teachers of color with that mission in mind is a natural fit.
  3. When seeking recommendations in the hiring process, request recommendations from non-colleagues and non-superiors. Many teachers of color are active within their communities. To gauge where prospective teachers of align with the mission of empowering and supporting students, particularly students of color (as well as parents), connect with individuals/organizations supported by prospective candidates e.g. churches, social service agencies, and non-profit organization.