Jackie Mader of The Hechinger Report writes about a round table discussion hosted by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) where teachers and teacher trainers and there was consensus that teachers need to be much better prepared for working with diverse, low income students and the trauma that can impact students from those backgrounds. The focus of the forum, which took place in Washington D.C., was on how to build a better teacher workforce.
That was the consensus at a roundtable discussion of educators and teacher trainers, which was hosted by Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) Tuesday in Washington and focused on how to build a better teacher workforce.
Panelists said that a time when the white student population has become the minority in America’s schools, teacher preparation programs are failing to recruit teachers who reflect increasing diversity. During the 2011-12 school year, only about 7 percent of teachers in the nation were black, and about 8 percent were Hispanic. Panelists also said that teacher training programs are not providing authentic teacher residency or student teaching experiences in schools with diverse, low-income students.
“We need to train teachers in schools that actually reflect those demographics,” said Kris Beck, a science teacher from Chicago. “The students that are in front of me have such difficult experiences and I was able to train for that for a year in a school that actually reflected those demographics. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t think I would have been prepared for the kinds of things I faced when I was in my own classroom.”