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Why Black Male Teachers Are Scarce in American Schools
By: Ehimwenma E. Aimiuwu
August 12, 2009

 

 

Due to the bad economy, many people decided to take on teaching as a career change.  In Georgia, if you are not an education major, you are expected to take the GACE exam (or PRAXIS I and II) and go for a teachers certification education.  The areas of Math and Science were the most needed and it was known that schools will even hire teachers who can teach the subject, but have to meet both requirements within 5 years of employment.  

This motivated a lot of people like me, who had an MBA and tutored math for extra income, to jump at the opportunity.  I passed the PRAXIS exams in 2003 without any preparations.  My plan was to use this as a leverage to beat any competition out there, because it was clear to all that the ultimate barrier was passing the PRAXIS exams.  It was known that many teachers who were hired were later dropped because their 5 year period expired and they could not pass the PRAXIS exams.  So all I now needed was a school to hire me and then go sit in a teachersí education class for about 2 years and become a certified teacher in Middle School math and science. 

 

Despite the fact that the Georgia Professional Standards Commission had granted me a provisional certification to teach in any public school, not a single school would even look at me in Georgia.  The principals in every job-fair I went to or those that called me for an interview demanded that I must go for the teacherís education before they hired me.  I was in great shock because everywhere you went and even on school websites, all they talked about was the need for math and science teachers. 

At the teachersí job-fairs, I met employed teachers who were trying to get better offers, and they would even show disbelieve at my situation because I could not get a job in math and science even after passing the dreaded PRAXIS exams.  They would even tell me about their colleagues who have been hired that have neither passed the PRAXIS Exams nor gone to teachersí education.  From our discussions, the lucky ones were usually women.  After going to numerous job-fairs in various counties around Atlanta, I began to see a trend of Black men with college degrees, that have passed the PRAXIS exams, but no school would hire them.   

Today, I now work as an instructor and math tutor in two different colleges, and I have had the pleasure of tutoring some women who are employed as teachers, but have not passed the GACE exams.  Many of them are simply hoping to pass just to keep their job, but they obviously have problems with fractions and exponents.  I guess some people are meant to teach only physical education and not math, because it appears that math is a position of intelligence and authority.  Why would some people have an income, and 5 years annual raises while they get their teachersí education, but others may have to take a loan, fall behind in years of experience, and loss their income to become teachers?

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