Theses Doctoral

Black Male Teachers Speak: Narratives of Corps Members in the NYC Teach for America Program

Mentor, Marcelle

Black men make up roughly 2% of the national teaching corps, and as Brockenbrough (2012) reminds us, there are recurring themes within Black Masculinity Studies that are central to bear in mind when looking at the lived and teaching experiences of these Black male teachers. The major one is to recognize and acknowledge the unique psychological, emotional, and spiritual toll of Black male marginality on Black men. “Oft-cited statistics on incarceration, homicide, unemployment, high school dropout, and HIV infection rates, among other chronic blights (Dyson, 1993; Noguera, 2003), illustrate not only the systemic marginality of Black men in American society, but also their distance from patriarchal definitions of manhood that rely on White supremacist and capitalist power to reinforce male domination” (p.5).
The intention of this study was to engage with these Black male teachers’ narratives, stories, and commentaries and learn from their life and teaching experiences as Black men. The aim was to gain insight into how they were recruited, how they were supported, and also what their understandings and thoughts are around retaining Black male teachers in the classrooms.
This is a small qualitative study is a sample of four Black Male teachers within the 2013 Teach for America Corps in NYC. As Lewis (2006) suggests, many of these Black male teachers consider their role bound to some form of social justice. This inquiry aimed to talk across the struggles and challenges of Black men in the NYC corps of the TFA program and to reach an understanding of their lived and teaching experience, and of the ways ideologies and narratives are negotiated and navigated in schools and classrooms. The questions of inquiry were aimed to provide insight into the recruitment, retention, and professional support of the Black male teacher, both in TFA and outside this program. Participation in this study was limited to Black male educators with one year of elementary or middle school teaching experience, in order to draw on and speak to the greater presence of male teachers at those levels to help teacher preparation programs navigate toward better recruitment processes, and supporting and sustaining more Black males in the classroom.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Sealey-Ruiz, Yolanda
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 5, 2016