Educators have a great influence on their students, and that influence is even greater when the students can relate to them. Because of this, the University of Illinois in Chicago is making a move to bring more representation of Black and Latino males in the education sector through a program that aims to increase the number of minority teachers in the area.
The program, which is called Call Me MISTER, is designed to empower Black and Latino college students to take the path of education career to become elementary school teachers in areas where there are few minority teachers.
It has been going on for more than 18 years and more than 30 schools are participating. The UIC is the largest urban school to participate in the program in which they provide free room and board and scholarship to participants.
Chicago particularly needs to have more racial representation in schools. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 84 percent of the students from the public schools in the city are Blacks and Latinos but there is only 42.7 percent who are teachers from minorities.
Most participants in the program have actually experienced the lack of diversity and representation in their education.
“I’ve only had one Black teacher in my life. It was something I was used to, but as I’ve grown older, I realized that it is pretty weird that Black men weren’t in my field,” 19-year-old UIC student Jawaun Williams said.
“Teachers taught me how to navigate, not only high school, but life. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher. As soon as I graduate I want to go back to the South Side of Chicago, and teach in the same neighborhood I came out of,” he continued.
UIC Dean Alfred Tatum hopes the program would emphasize to young men that teaching is not only for women and that Chicago “need to see men of color who embrace teaching as a profession.”
For more details about the Call Me MISTER program, visit https://education.uic.edu/content/call-me-mister