By: Rann Miller
Schools are institutions of socialization as well as learning. Socialization is a part of learning; the norms and folkways of community and society. Such learning doesn’t only happen for students, but it also happens for the adults who enter schools.
Because all schools are different—even those within the same district—teachers must be onboarded and onboarded to ensure their proper transition into their school building as well as district culture. This is all to ensure that they service the students and families in the best possible way.
Servicing students and families doesn’t simply include familiarizing teachers with the process for how to enter lesson plans and grades or knowing the callout procedures. Servicing students and families also means having an awareness of the community where the school is located and the ways the school engages and integrates with the community to enhance the educational experiences of students.
School and district leaders must ask themselves if when engaged in that onboarding work, does their content reflect best practices for how teachers of color can engage the communities where their school is located; particularly if the school is located in a community that is predominately white?
According to a 2020 study, many teachers of color enter the teaching profession due to their feeling responsible to challenge the status quo and promote social justice through their teaching and instructions in classrooms.
However, we live in a society where social justice efforts are met with anti-Critical Race Theory legislation and book bans. How are teachers of color, who simply teach with the mission of equipping children with the tools to be better citizens, engage with communities who appear to oppose that mission?
Organizations of color equipped with supporting teachers of color and school districts with this in mind are important lifelines for all parties involved.
These organizations can take information, such as why teachers of color have the mission that they do and that white students—in addition to students of color—benefit from and prefer teachers of color, and help teachers of color (and district leaders) package that truth to assist teachers of color with engaging in the communities where they work.
The same can be done for teachers of color who work in diverse schools where students of color make up the majority of the population. Organizations of color like DIVERSITY in Ed can support the onboarding work to show districts and teachers how.
It is imperative that schools and/or districts establish strategic partnerships.