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THE EXPERIENCES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE EDUCATORS IN PRIMARY GRADE LEVELS

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dc.contributor.author Gobert , Joshua
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-20T13:41:16Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-20T13:41:16Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12262/243
dc.description.abstract Purpose The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the experiences of African American male educators in primary grade levels. The participants for this study were purposefully selected from the population of African American male educators who work in a North Harris Country School District. Methodology In this descriptive study, the researcher used the qualitative research methodology of hermeneutical phenomenology to investigate and more clearly define the fundamental nature of the experiences of African American males in the profession of education. In addition, the researcher examined the obstacles African American males encounter in the profession of education. In doing so, the researcher gained knowledge as these participants shared their feelings, describing what they recognize and sense through their own self-awareness and encounters. Approaching the study from this perspective allowed the researcher to explore the vital underlying meaning of the experiences containing both the outward appearance and inward consciousness based on memories, images, and meanings of these participants responses (Moustakas, 1994). The phenomenological research approaches designed by Bogdan and Biklen (2006) were used to analyze the data. Bogdan and Biklen (2006) defined their process for examining the data in the following statement: “Analysis involves working with data, organizing them, breaking them into manageable units, synthesizing, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others” (p.157). According to Lichtman (1996), phenomenological research approaches study the actual experience of people regarding a certain phenomenon. Therefore, the phenomenological researcher must be open-minded toward changing reality (Lancy, 1993). He should be willing to give a justification for observed occurrences. Boeree (2002) noted that the phenomena speak for themselves, meaning the researcher should be prepared to listen. Findings Three themes emerged from participants’ responses. The themes were representation, barriers, and supports. Participants’ responses indicated that the reasons for the underrepresentation of African American males in the teaching profession include: (a) low salaries; (b) societal expectations that only women should be classroom teachers; (c)African American males perceive their role models to be professional athletes, rappers, and men with misogynistic mindsets; and (d) the high degree of incarceration for African American males which limits their opportunities for professions to pursue. Participants’ responses regarding the belief that the presence of African American males in the classroom has a positive effect on African American male students’ academic performance indicated that the participants believe that African American male educators do positively impact African American male students’ academic performance. Participants’ responses regarding how they feel about their role as an African American educator indicated that some of the participants strongly perceive their role negatively because they feel that they always must prove that they are professionals with degrees and not just the disciplinarian, the counselor for all of the African American students; or the person to go to when something needs to be moved. In addition, the negative stereotypes in our society about African American males that teach in the primary grade levels impact their decisions to join the teaching profession. Participants’ responses regarding their role in the educational system indicated that they must take on many roles. The roles include mentor, educator, change agent, life coach, father figure, role models, community leader, administrator, librarian, nurse, counselor, disciplinarian, motivator, influencer, and confidant. Some participants went further and said that sometimes the African American male in the classroom takes the place of whatever the students may be missing at home or school and the African American male feels obligated to perform in whatever role the students need. Participants’ responses regarding whether they ever had an African American male teacher and several of them shared that the African American male educators that they had were during their elementary school years. One participant shared that his principal was the only African American male that he encountered in school. Several participants reported that the African American males at their schools were athletic coaches. Some participants reported that they never had an African American teacher, male or female. Participants’ responses regarding the field of education being referred to as “woman’s profession” indicated that they believe: (a) teaching is a female dominated profession; (b) women are nurturers and care givers; (c) men and women are needed in the education field; (d) the majority of the teachers in grade school are women; and (e) people believe that teaching is not a masculine profession. Participants’ responses regarding barriers that African American males face that deter them from seeking jobs in teaching indicated that they believe: (a) questioned about their motives and passion for students because males at the primary level are not seen; (b) African American males are viewed as incompetent; (c) African American males are viewed as being beneficial only for athletic coaching positions; (d) African American males are stereotyped as unfit, uneducated, and not capable of nurturing children; (e) low salaries; and (f) systemic racism. Participants’ responses indicated that their motivation to enter the teaching profession include the following reasons: (a) job stability; (b) absence of African American males in the classroom; (c) desire to positively influence students; (d) love for teaching, mentoring, motivating, and inspiring young students; (e) the call to be an educator is a family tradition; (f) love for teaching and inspiring others; and (g) field of education allows individuals to give back. Participants’ responses which addressed their views on recruitment efforts by educational institutions to seek out and persuade African American males to choose the education profession indicated that they believe that there is not enough effort by educational institutions to recruit African American males to choose the education profession. Participants’ responses regarding strategies and techniques that may be implemented to recruit more African American males into the teaching profession indicated that they believe that the following actions should be put into place: (a) opportunities for African American males in education to speak publicly about their experiences; (b) publicize African American educators’ mentorship programs; (c) use social media to showcase positive African American educators at different grade levels; (d) show how African American males have advanced in the education field; (e) recruitment programs in high school for college bound students; (f) recruitment fairs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities; (g) relationships with all colleges and universities and target students who are undecided about their major; (h) current teachers mentor college students and; (i) teaching profession is a calling, not just a job. Participants’ responses regarding their opinions about ways to persuade African American males to select teaching as their profession indicated that overall, they believe that the teaching profession needs salary increases. In addition, more effort needs to be made to showcase the benefits of becoming an educator. Furthermore, providing potential candidates with information about the district so that they can determine if the district is a fit for them. Participants’ responses regarding their opinions about supports that could be provided to recruit and retain African American males in the classroom indicated that the consensus appears to be that they believe that competitive salaries, mentoring programs, and focused recruitment are some supports that will recruit and retain African American males in the classroom. Participants’ final thoughts included the following: (a) more African American male educators are needed for all students; (b) respect for the profession from society; (c) the presence of African American male educators offers advantages to the students, schools, and communities; and (d) more African American males in education may help to break the cycle of stereotypes of what gender belongs to what profession.
dc.title THE EXPERIENCES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE EDUCATORS IN PRIMARY GRADE LEVELS
dc.date.updated 2021-05-19T19:08:46Z
dc.language.rfc3066 en


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