to wonder about ethnic diversity in teachers?

(105 Posts)
manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 18:45:04

I teach in a school where 100% of the staff are caucasian (but then so are approx 90% of the children, it's a very very white area).

But I went on a course today in London and there were 100 teachers there, all of whom were white. At least 2/3rds were from schools in the London area so I would have expected diversity.

As someone with mixed race children I do sometimes worry about this. Well not worry exactly, it probably doesn't matter in the slightest. But I think about it. I used to believe that the only correct way forward was total colour blin-ness but now I'm not so sure. Should we actually be encouraging more diversity in careers such as teaching rather than just taking whatever happens as being ok?

Or have I got a skewed view on things and there are actually loads of non white teachers?

And AIBU to think it might even matter?

TheFallenNinja Fri 15-Feb-13 07:07:46

How on earth does the skin colour of 100 people in a room constitute any commentary on diversity?

What was the split of gender/background/nationality/subject/ability/first language/sexual orientation/home town/school rating/income/favourite football team/number of children/body mass index/class/hair colour/eye colour/height/shoe size/breast fed or bottle fed.....

Surely this gives a better indicator of diversity than skin pigment.

manicinsomniac Fri 15-Feb-13 07:32:27

FallenNinja - because it's a very visible indicator I suppose. As is gender (the split was approx 50/50 there). I have no idea of the other factors you mention because I was there for just a few hours and spoke to only about 10 people. Maybe you're right though and it's totally irrelevant, especially given the stats others have mentioned about the country as a whole.

I find the comments about not wanting to earn a 'pittance' and needing enough to bring up a family rather off though. Yes, if you have the brains or inclincation for medicine, law or big business you're going to earn more but, compared to most jobs, teaching is well paid. I'm a single parent and easily bring up two children on my wage which is about £8000 above the national average and I'm not even at the top of the payscale yet. My final salary will be about £13000 above average I think. VERY livable on!

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 08:06:01

Because eye colour and shoe size has no impact on attainment? hmm....or does it? <strokes chin>

sarahtigh Fri 15-Feb-13 08:14:36

the diversity mix is much greater in medical and dental schools, when I trained over 20 years ago at least 20% of students were not white british

medicine at the moment has about 52-55% female students and about 30-35% non white british students

LahleeMooloo Fri 15-Feb-13 08:30:40

So would I be fine to say my son is a white male and needs white male role models, and then to hire a white male over a black male? Of course not, so I don't see why it is acceptable the other way round. You could start applying that logical to many professions and before you know it, people are being discriminated against because of their skin colour. It seems acceptable to discriminate against whites but not other races, when it isn't. We're either all equal and on a level playing field or we're not- you can either hire any race because you prefer them or not at all.

usualsuspect Fri 15-Feb-13 08:37:21

My Childrens school teachers were very diverse, must depend where you live. I'm surprised there is not more diversity in London though.

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 08:44:26

I don't have time to reply fully now, but lahlee the playing field is not yet level

I definitely think there needs to be more working class male teachers recruited yes, where white wc boys are under preforming

It isn't comparable with other professions, because ypu are talking about the education of the next generation

soverylucky Fri 15-Feb-13 08:45:14

I am a teacher and I am a white. In my last school there were 26 different languages spoken. All that matters is that I do my job well and treat every single pupils the same. I would hate to think that somehow the colour of my skin should be taken into consideration when I apply for a job.

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 09:06:16

Is it colour, family tree or ethnicity? Our lovely reception teacher was from Malaysia originally but very English. The other one was from Africa (white).

Doesn't the 'bring parents in to speak to the class about their job' or guest speakers address the whole 'role model' thing? Our school community bobbies are; black male, arab male, white female.

EcoLady Fri 15-Feb-13 10:15:49

Having thrown the official stats into the mix... here are the stats of my personal experience.

Own DCs primary - 100% white staff at the mo. All female teachers, one male TA. Previous deputy head was male and of Indian origin - he was there for a couple of years then left the profession.

My PGCE Primary course - 200 students with 12 male. One black female. Several non-Brits, but all white European/Auz/NZ/etc.

Schools where I trained -
One with male head & deputy. All other staff female. All white.
One with all white female staff.
One with male head. All other staff female. All white.

School where I teach - 100% white female staff. When I was interviewed there was a male candidate and I did wonder whether he'd be picked above the women to 'balance' things.

DDs secondary - haven't met all the staff. Seems like a much more even mix of male/female.... but I can't recall any non-white faces at parents' evening.

We're in a predominantly white area, but I know plenty of non-white and mixed race families. 3 of 32 in my own class are BME or dual heritage.

AmberLeaf Fri 15-Feb-13 10:40:04

Agree with BigAudio again.

LahleeMooloo the education system is full of white male role models for your son already though isn't it?

Even if more black teachers are hired to the benefit of BME pupils, it isn't going to have a detrimental affect on your son is it.

IME of my childrens schools the presence of BME teachers has been higher in secondary.

AmberLeaf Fri 15-Feb-13 10:55:21

Would like to add that my boys have had lots of brilliant white teachers, male and female. Im not saying that white teachers can't do a good job with BME pupils at all.

choccyp1g Fri 15-Feb-13 11:13:32

At DS secondary school, the teachers seem much more ethnically diverse than the children. He gets at least 16 different teachers over the week, and at least 3 are non-white. We are nearish to London, so suspect the teachers are coming out of the more mixed suburbs to teach in a predominantly white area.

I think a bit about it as DS is mixed race, but I don't think he sees it in terms of skin colour, but enjoys the fact for example that his geography teacher was actually born in the country they happen to be studying. He has mentioned that one of his teachers had an unusual accent, but he soon got used to it.

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 11:20:02

We have one white male teacher and my son isn't white. I have no problems with our school. DH didn't have any non while teachers either.

TheFallenNinja Fri 15-Feb-13 11:54:52

I frankly don't care what the teachers personal circumstances are, I only want them to teach the subject in hand well.

If their personal circumstance contributes to their teaching ability then fine but I really don't care where they're from or how they got here.

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 12:06:40

I'd rather see more men teaching. I never saw a male teacher until I got to secondary school and found them quite daunting. I had a dad at home (although he worked all the hours and wasn't very hands on anyway) but I wasn't used to being around men, as it was all women/girls at home.

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 12:35:35

usual I wonder sometimes if schools in largely white areas with a very white intake may sometimes be more inclined to want to offer a BME teacher a job to give their pupils some positive exposure to BME people that they may not otherwise have in their everyday lives. Whereas in areas with very ethnically diverse populations that is perhaps not an issue at the forefront of anyone's minds BME people are around them everywhere and every day. It may, in a weird way, explain why we've said we lived in very white areas but came across plenty of diversity in teachers, and other people are saying their children are BME, and they don't!

the other thing to remember is that the population may be 85.67% white now but it wasn't 10-15 years ago, and we don't employ many 12 year old school teachers! You have to give society a chance to catch up with itself.

usualsuspect Fri 15-Feb-13 12:42:18

I live in one of the most multicultural cities in England, a lot of my childrens teachers were Asian. Their school was extremely diverse. I would say over 80% of the students were non white.

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 12:44:24

sorry, I must have merged your post with someone else's. confused

usualsuspect Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:08

I'm really surprised that some schools in London are not similar, considering the diversity there.

drmummmsy Fri 15-Feb-13 12:52:05

We're in N/Ireland and it's just the same, except there's another layer to it in that because of our religiously segregated education system, most of out ps teachers come from the same denomination as the religion of the school. in addition, most I've encountered have terribly conservative Christian values, as well as being white MC...

this often causes difficulty as there is a lack of understanding being the staff and the students in the catchment area

drmummmsy Fri 15-Feb-13 12:52:41

it's interesting to hear about other more diverse schools though

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 12:52:49

I'm sure plenty are. We can't take a couple of people's anecdotal evidence on MN as proof that there are only white teachers teaching black kids!

If I came on here saying that my kids' school had an over-representation of BME teachers I doubt anyone would assume it meant that all schools had that.

usualsuspect Fri 15-Feb-13 12:55:30

I understand that, Fell.

Thats why I'm expressing surprise at the OP.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 15-Feb-13 12:58:25

Haven't read whole thread, but my white SON went to a primary school where for 7 years he was entirely taught by women - there was not one man on the school staff. The school definitely didn't like the energy of boys and sportswise he was hugely disadvantaged. I would love to see more men, black, white, yellow or green in primary schools.

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