Giving Compass' Take:

• Nichelle Bowes, writing for Getting Smart, believes that diversifying the teacher workforce starts with investing in residencies that create supportive pathways for educators. 

• How will an intentional, supportive, and communal environment help cultivate high-quality teachers? How can donors assist school districts in creating these types of pathways? 

• Read about how to activate teacher motivation. 

I moved to the United States from Guyana when I was 12 years old. From the time that I disembarked the plane at JFK Airport in New York, I knew my life would be different, and it was in many ways.

My personal experiences are aligned to research which shows that teachers of color tend to have more positive perceptions and higher expectations of students of color. Simultaneously research also shows that high-quality teachers have a greater impact on student achievement. As such, my driving force as the dean of Relay Graduate School of Education’s Newark campus is to not only diversify the teaching workforce but to produce high-quality teachers who understand the importance of educational equity and who prioritize caring about their students.

Creating such diversity, in the midst of a teacher shortage can be challenging, but not impossible. One recommended solution is to invest in residencies as a teacher pathway. In our work preparing teachers through residencies, we find it most successful to partner with districts, like Passaic Public Schools where we have provided programs for veteran teachers to support their continued professional growth.

Once we build the pathways into teaching, we have to think about how to best support our aspiring and veteran educators to successfully support each of their students. Here are a few of the lessons that we have learned along the way:

  • Understanding and being responsible with your power is important.
  • Be intentional about your support for aspiring and new teachers.
  • Understand the individual needs of your aspiring teachers.
  • Help teachers get to know their community.

Read the full article about inclusive school environments that support teachers by Nichelle Bowes at Getting Smart