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How Do We Make Teaching More Diverse? Experts Say: Start By Listening

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Teachers of color feel undervalued and less visible in their schools compared to white peers, according to a new report highlighting some of the challenges to diversify the teaching workforce – and what experts say would help. 

The Teach Plus report lists other challenges, like the financial cost to teach and a lack of cultural awareness in schools. 

Director of research Mark Teoh says schools and states should find solutions by listening to teachers. He says that can happen with data collected by exit interviews and surveys, but shouldn’t stop there. 

“But then you can also do things like hold teacher cabinets or conduct less formal kinds of research to hear from classroom teachers on what their experiences are,” he says. 

READ MORE: Want To Address Teachers’ Unconscious Biases? First, Talk About Race

The Relay Graduate School of Education recently opened shop in Indianapolis. It touts itself as one of the most diverse teacher preparation schools in the country. 

Relay Indianapolis Dean Carlotta Cooprider, says just talking more about culture and identity in schools can help attract and keep educators of color in the field – something the Teach Plus report says is vital. 

“They want to have rigorous conversations about race. They want to have rigorous conversations about implicit bias,” she says. 

Teoh says some solutions are more resource dependent than others. The report also recommends more structured support from school leadership focused on diversity challenges, and offering additional financial support to teachers from black and Latinx communities specifically, as they support students outside of school. 

Contact Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.