White teachers in an urban classroom: What they need to know/overcome to reach the youth Essay

There are many out-of-school youth nowadays. Even though there is racial diversification in urban schools now, African-American and Latinos comprise a number of out-of-school youth. This disengagement in school has many factors racism by the white teachers. This paper will deal on what the white teachers in urban classroom need to know or overcome to reach the youths of today. The paper discussed the researches which dealt on urban teachers’ racism, researches on how to improve urban education, and on how to prepare white teachers on the on going racial diversification in many urban classrooms nowadays.

And based on these researches, it can be said that for a teacher to be able to educate effectively, one must always remember that the main job of a teacher, white or nonwhite teacher, is to educate the youth, whether they are nonwhite or white students. Thus, white teachers should reduce or eliminate racism against nonwhite students to perform their job effectively and encourage more youths to go to school.

And this can be done by understanding the cultural background of the child, let the parents of these nonwhite students to develop trust on urban teachers by valuing and respecting their child, and to be able to understand the dominance of white, to understand ones’ culture or white teacher identity. Thesis statement: White teachers in an urban classroom need to know that their main job is to teach students, whether their students are black or white, and overcome racism to reach the youth. Supporting points: ) Teachers, in any culture, are the main educators or instructors of the hope of each country, the youth. 2) According to the Center of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, one out of every four African-Americans and one out of five Latinos are not in school, jobless, and were on the street.

3) According to the three professors from Georgia State University, it was found out that during the late 90s, white teachers in Georgia’s elementary schools were more likely to quit at schools with higher proportions of black students. This could lead to demand of teachers for the students. ) Education of urban minority students remains inferior to education of white students because of racism that the white teachers have. 5) School enrollment in recent days is undergoing a vast racial and ethnic transformation, thus, teachers should be prepared with this transformation to teach the youth effectively. Introduction The youths are the hope of each country. Educating them is one of the important things to build a progressive country. According to Orfield and Lee (2007), school enrollment in recent days is undergoing a vast racial and ethnic transformation.

Diversity of culture/race in schools now is increasing. Ten states reported a majority of nonwhite students is becoming a trend that will reflect soon in the nations’ school enrollment. Reported by Orfield and Lee (2007), Latino students now outnumber black students while the percentage of white students’ enrollment is decreasing. However, there are still some students or youth, like the African-Americans, that see the school as a place of low expectations and failure, not a place to learn and mingle with other students.

According to the Center of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, one out of every four African-Americans and one out of five Latinos are not in school, jobless, and were on the street (YDRF, 2008). Thus, there are still many out-of-school youth nowadays because of some factors such as racism. And, the paper will deal on what the white teachers in urban classroom need to know or overcome to reach the youths of today. Discussion Teachers, in any culture and race, are the main educators or instructors of the hope of each country, the youth. A teacher is the one who shapes the youth.

Shaping the personality, value, intellectual capability, and even spiritual and emotional aspects of the youth is the major role of a teacher. The teachers are considered to be the next or second parent of the child because a child is spending more time in school than at home. In addition, it is at school where students learn how to be with other people (nonwhite or white) aside from his/her family and it is the teacher who will guide the students. However, racism against nonwhite students is common to some white teachers here in US which discourage some nonwhite students to enter school.

Even though US have a democratic society, equal opportunity for all, history indicates that this has only been a dream for many citizens in here, especially in education. Racism against nonwhite students by white teachers is now one of the major issues in education. In addition, urban schools have difficulties in attracting teachers due to some factors, and this includes racism. Racial Diversity Trend The trend against desegregation of schools here in US has impacted African-Americans and Latinos the most according to Orfield and Lee (2007).

This is because many of the African-American and Latino students are often separated from the white students and they often attend schools that lack teacher quality. However, there is a trend nowadays in the diversification of races in our schools even though there is no national effort to desegregate them. During the year 1982, student population composed of 73% white students but it declines to 63% ten years later (Parker, 2003). The trend on the decrease in the percentage of white student population was predicted to continue up to the present.

On the study conducted, it predicted or expects that there will be just over half of the student population in year 2020 will be the number of white students. Another report by Garcia and Gonzalez of the Teachers College Record, as presented in the paper of Elissa Vinnik (2008), suggest that by 2026, there will be 70% nonwhite students America’s public schools. In contrast to diversification of races in the schools, only 10% nonwhite teachers are present in public schools while 90% are white teachers and these figures will be constant according to Landsman (2001).

The racial composition of teachers is still overwhelmingly white (Frankenberg and Hawley, 2008). On the research conducted by Frankenberg and Hawley (2008), entitled “Are Teachers Prepared for Racially Changing Schools? : Teachers Describe their Preparation, Resources and Practices for Racially Diverse Schools,” Their findings showed that white teachers and teachers in school with higher percentage of enrolled white students were less likely need preparation for the racial diversification in classrooms.

It is so for the teachers to have training and/or seminars in order to educate the students effectively. Majority of the teachers are not prepared with this trend of racial diversity, and thus, choose the option of leaving the job as a teacher to a classroom with diverse races. There are studies and reports on the fleeing of white teachers from black schools. What more if the white teacher is assigned to a racially diverse school?

According to the three professors from Georgia State University, as reported in CNN (January 2003), it was found out that during the late 90s, white teachers in Georgia’s elementary schools were more likely to quit at schools with higher proportions of black students. In year 2003 in Georgia, there were still a handful number of white teachers which decided to leave black schools due to some reasons such as disillusioned by pupils who struggled; the parents were not participating in educating their children, and the constant pressure to meet the standard state achievements.

On the other hand, a research conducted by McDermott and Rothenberg (2000), dealt with the perceptions of urban school teachers and parents on the involvement in educating the students and their findings showed that the parents of the students expressed distrust toward local elementary school while the teachers were frustrated because of lack of parental involvement in literacy. In addition, the parents felt that the faculty has been biased against African-American and Latino students and explained that they will only cooperate if the teachers will value and respect their children.

Moreover, education of urban minority students remains inferior to education of white students. Thus, aside from being well oriented to the course matter, white teachers must be educated and better prepared to confront racial diversity and racism to effectively educate the youth of today, the white and nonwhite youths. They must also understand why there is social inequality in schools. How to Overcome Racism and Become an Effective Educator Teachers in multiethnic urban classrooms often lack knowledge and respect to the different races of the students they teach.

With these, nonwhite students developed low self-esteem and disengage in going to school. According to Bloom et, al. (2000), teachers should establish respectful and trusting social relationships with the children they are teaching and to the children’s families and this is essential in improving urban classroom education. On the problem of urban teachers on racism against students and the low involvement of parents to the literacy of these students, many researches on this proposed that to reduce racism, white teachers should actively develop an understanding of children’s cultural background.

Once a teacher will understand the cultural background of the students, the teacher will learn to value and respect the children including the families of the students. Nistler and Maiers (2000) showed that urban families can become successful coworker or collaborator in the primary grade children’s literacy in urban and rural areas. With these, the parents of African-Americans and Latinos will develop trust towards the teachers and will help the teachers in educating the youth of today.

On the other hand, Edwards, Pleasants, and Franklin (1999), on their research, showed that family stories (family stories about children’s reading and experiences) can inform classroom teachers about children’s literacy background and have helped teachers to discard stereotyped notions of literacy in the urban classrooms. Many of the white teachers feel unprepared and incapable in classrooms with diverse race.

A paper presented by Elissa Vinnik (2008) suggested the implementation of Howard’s model to the white teachers to educate the nonwhite students effectively. Gary R. Howard (1999) is the author of the book We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools. In this book, he states that white teachers cannot effectively educate their nonwhite students (of ethnic minority) until they have strongly investigated their own racial identity, one’s identity as a dominating white.

With this, they will be able to understand the sufferings of the minority from their dominance in the past and present events. Howard conceptualized three distinct white identity orientations, namely: fundamentalist, integrationist, and transformationist. Fundamentalist is the least multiculturally enlightened as compared to the other orientations, while the transfomationist is the most multiculturally informed and integrationist is just in between.

Fundamentalist is described as “ignorant to the powers of whiteness” and is “angered and hostile when confronted with discussions of personal racism,” according to the book. Fundamentalist also believes that there should be equal treatment to all students and maintain Eurocentric worldview. In contrast, integrationist acknowledges multiple approaches to truth and accepts differences and can easily adapt to the changing world, acknowledging inequality and no longer hostile when confronted. On the other hand, transformationist seeks to understand all perspectives.

They understand that whites are dominating are involve in oppression but they also understand that or they have a positive approach towards white cultural identity and ethnic roots. They are the constant learners and are committed to social actions to strive for equality. While not all white teachers of nonwhite students could achieve the transformationist level, Howard said that they can be encouraged to embrace internal change as possible. Conclusion There are many out-of-school youth nowadays.

Even though there is racial diversification in urban schools now, African-American and Latinos comprise a number of out-of-school youth. This disengagement in school has many factors such as poverty, racism, and many other more. One of the major social issue since 90s is racism against nonwhite students. It is always the notion that nonwhite students are hard to teach and have always low achievement level or have low literacy acquirement while the nonwhite students see school as a place of discrimination, failure, and low expectations.

But this is due to the prejudice of some white teachers against their nonwhite students. There are many researches which dealt on how to improve urban education and how to prepare white teachers on the on going racial diversification in many urban classrooms nowadays. And based on these researches, it can be said that for a teacher to be able to educate effectively, one must always remember that the main job of a teacher, white or nonwhite teacher, is to educate the youth, whether they are nonwhite or white students.

Thus, white teachers should reduce or eliminate racism against nonwhite students to perform their job effectively and encourage more youths to go to school. And this can be done by understanding the cultural background of the child, let the parents of these nonwhite students to develop trust on urban teachers by valuing and respecting their child, and to be able to understand the dominance of white, to understand ones’ culture or white teacher identity.