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?

ScottyDoc Thu 14-Feb-13 18:49:28

My dh is North african and a teacher. There are actually a ton of ethnic teachers, just depends what area you are in. We are south London. West London and north London may be a bit more Caucasian based, same as places such as Sussex.

ScottyDoc Thu 14-Feb-13 18:50:09

Yanbu , I worry about my mixed race kids too but not really in career terms.

Pozzled Thu 14-Feb-13 18:56:18

One of the things I reallyike about the school I teach at is the diversity. Both pupils and staff come from a wide range of backgrounds and religions and speak a wide range of languages. I do think it's important in terms of role models and exposing all children to different cultures. However, I wouldn't ever want to see a situation where a weaker candidate gets the job in order to fill a quota. I guess we just need to keep encouraging people from all backgrounds to consider teaching.

cheshiresmile Thu 14-Feb-13 18:58:17

I am in Hackney and I saw very few minority ethnic teachers when I visited a ton of secondary schools last year (visited all the schools in Hackney plus a few in neighbouring boroughs). Definitely no representative of our borough!

We are non-white (from an SE Asian background, don't want to be too specific) and I've never seen any teachers from our country at all, although there's quite a large community in London. I think it's partly self-selecting though - most of my friends/relatives from my country are horrified at the idea of teaching London teenagers!

I don't think it bothers me too much for my own dc though. It would be nice to have more diversity, but I don't think it's really crucial.

FellatioNels0n Thu 14-Feb-13 18:59:07

I wouldn't worry about it. I have known plenty of BME teachers, even though my children and I have all gone to school in largely white areas.
You have to remember that you cannot expect teachers to have any greater a BME representation than the percentage of BME people in the population as a whole.

If you want to feel a bit happier about BME represention just turn on the TV and watch local and national news programmes, where BME people are hugely over represented. Swings, roundabouts and all that.

EcoLady Thu 14-Feb-13 19:11:20

The overwhelming majority of primary teachers are middle class, white and female... including me. We do our best to teach ALL of our pupils.

albertcamus Thu 14-Feb-13 19:23:54

In my 24 years' teaching experience I have worked in:

* FE in a racially-diverse middle-class town : no problems, nobody saw colour, the diversity was great

* a comp just North of London with equally diverse catchment, if not more so as many travellers were there too, again no problems, everyone got along fine

* a comp near the A10 'white flight' area which featured (10 years ago) mainly white WC kids - racism was rife, unchallenged, institutional and shockingly tolerated. A colleague from Zimbabwe was asked by a 'teacher' of 25 years' experience in this school: 'Why are you here ? We don't need you' sad

* a comp in the poorest area of a WC town where 80% of the kids are white WC BUT they look up to, get on with and admire the BME students & staff

my experience in the school where racism was embedded horrified me (I couldn't wait to get out of the place), and I can understand your concerns for your own children ... I agree that teaching continues to feature an over-representation of white MC women, but there are so many reasons for this, I can't see the situation improving drastically in the forseeable future sad

manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 19:36:25

it's interesting that a couple of people have mentioned over representation of women too. I noticed that when training but never since. I work in an independent school though so maybe that makes a difference.

Good to hear that there's some variation out there in some places at least.

EcoLady Thu 14-Feb-13 20:03:00

Official stats here Click on the pdf link on the right hand side.

93.6% of all teachers are white.
97.6% of Heads are white.
91.5% of TAs are white.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 20:06:34

It would be interesting to have the same survey results for professions that are higher status, such as doctors and dentists. We can encourage diversity as much as we like, in the same way that we've been trying to entice men into the profession for decades.
But you can't force people to enter a career they have no desire to.

sherazade Thu 14-Feb-13 20:08:29

I am a qualified primary school teacher. On my teacher training course for primary education, out of 120 of us, around 20 were male and 119 of us white. This is in a large culturally diverse city (not London).

In the secondary department there were trainees of many different ethnicities.
Sadly, primary teaching seems to be the domain of white women alone.
I am unsure why.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 20:11:28

Low status.
Has been for a long time. It's seen as a combination of child-minding and playing that anyone can do with a bit of brains.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 20:16:20

Wow, those stats are quite shocking EcoLady. I wouldn't have guessed it was that high.

montmartre Thu 14-Feb-13 20:21:21

The school I work in has greater ethnic diversity in the staff than in the pupils (outer-city area). I think this is a good thing actually, because the rest of our city is very diverse, and I find it strange sometimes walking round such a 'white' environment. The school I was last in had 100% white UK staff, but the pupils were very diverse (40-50% BME, many many different backgrounds)... it was Specialist provision though, so I don't know if that had some bearing on it.

ninah Thu 14-Feb-13 20:24:42

there's a fair lack of social diversity in general ime

85.67% of British people are white British though.

It's no surprise that a slightly higher percentage than the average person in the population is a professional surely confused and that they would be white.

LahleeMooloo Thu 14-Feb-13 20:53:22

I don't believe people should be hired specifically because they are an ethnic minority however, to fulfil quotas. People should only ever be hired on merit, not colour, whether it favours majority or minority ethnicities.

mrsbunnylove Thu 14-Feb-13 21:35:58

we're a mixed bunch in the high school where i work.

crazynanna Thu 14-Feb-13 21:43:56

DD's Secondary schhol Headteacher (north London school) is black/british male of Carribean decent. There is an African male Economic Studies teacher, and I think two Asian female a good mix

Hesterton Thu 14-Feb-13 21:54:21

East London secondary, extremely diverse set of staff from head teacher to midday supervisors. Truly reflects the diversity of the students.

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:55:48

A fair number of black teachers in my boys secondary school. Quite a few of which are senior/very senior and male.

Im glad.

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 21:58:27

ive been thinking about this lately. Im interested because i have mR children

I notice someone on the thread said you shouldnt employ BME teachers to fill quotas; teachers should be employed on merit

I'm not totally sure i agree. If you are talking about a school where a large percentage are black males of carribean descent (the lowest preforming group academically) might it be advantageous to hire a black male teacher of carribean descent even if that teacher isnt as good as another candidtae who is white british female? (obviously this wouldnt apply if you are talking about a totally shit teacher!)

Kids do need role models and they do need to see themselves reflected in the world around them

Our primary school has 2 male white teachers, 2 MR female teachers, 2 MR TAs (1 male, 1 female) 2 Indian female teachers, 2 Indian female TAs, 2 black male TAs (1 African and 1 Carribean descent I think), 3 African Woman Play Ground Supervisors and 1 black male playground supervisors. Ive volunteered in the school...IMO the diversity is really important in engaging the kids...especially those with SEN etc...but also they are all really good at their not a teacher....i dont know what the balance is

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:58:28

Also lots of support/admin staff who are black too.

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:59:22

Agree BigAudio

LahleeMooloo Thu 14-Feb-13 22:05:13

No I completely disagree bigaudio, selection should never be on the basis of the colour of someone's skin. It is never justifiable and is a slippery slope.

kim147 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:09:24

In our predominantly Asian / Afro Caribbean school, all the teachers are white. Most are female. And quite young.

Our TAs are predominantly Asian and Afro - Caribbean as are other support staff in the school.

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:11:53

lahlee regardless of whether you think it is correct or not, to hire someone on the basis of their you think BME children respond better to someone of their own ethnicity? As a generalisation, do Afro-carribean boys do more learning if their teacher is a black carribean man? And does having a black male teacher raise their aspirations in life?

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:13:20

and what about as 121 teachers/TAs lahlee? ...(or anyone?)

Theresalwaysone Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:40

Agree with BigAudio totally! As a blanket statement selection according to race is never a good idea BUT her examples clearly show otherwise... Unquestionably IMO!

Blessyou Thu 14-Feb-13 23:46:53

For comparison as suggested by The NebulousBuljoom
Dentists in 2000 : 14% BME and rising

Doctors in 2003 : 37%

Blessyou Thu 14-Feb-13 23:48:19

Sorry TheNebulousBoojum

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Thu 14-Feb-13 23:51:15

The other lowest performing group academically? White working class boys.

They need role models around them; as do all young people though.

You should never employ on the basis of ethnicity or gender in an ideal world; I have seen it happen however.

Moominsarehippos Thu 14-Feb-13 23:53:42

Our teachers are mainly white. DS is mixed and my BIL/SIL are both teachers.

I'd be happier seeing more male teachers than I am concerned about their ethnic origins tbh.

GW297 Thu 14-Feb-13 23:58:47

Virtually all the teachers I have ever worked with are white British, middle class females too. I don't think YABU at all. I agree that in an ideal world school staff should comprise of males and teachers from a range of different ages and heritages. I think about this often.

MyPetMonsterAndMe Fri 15-Feb-13 00:00:34

I was actually thinking about this the other day. I am a teacher at an independent school in Canada. We have students from all around the world (boarding school) but every single member of staff is white. I would say there is a pretty even male:female ratio though, perhaps more males. The school is in an area that is not very ethnically diverse, which may explain part of this because on my teaching course this was not the case at all. There were males and females of many different ethnic origins.

thegreylady Fri 15-Feb-13 00:17:08

What does BME stand for please?

TotallyBS Fri 15-Feb-13 00:28:36

I would like the police and the judiciary to be more diverse. Same with politics. But I can't say that I care that much when it comes to teachers. I mean ,what difference what colour your maths teacher is?

manicinsomniac Fri 15-Feb-13 00:38:09

bigaudio your school sounds like a perfect mix. ANd I agree that in the case you cited positive discrimination would be a good thing - because it would be for the benefit of children not the adults concerned.

nailak Fri 15-Feb-13 00:49:46

in my dcs schools there is a lot of diversity in the teachers, lots of asian staff particularly, less black but I would say asian and white are same ratio

WorraLiberty Fri 15-Feb-13 01:03:59

Very diverse here in East London/Essex.

Loads of Australian, Canadian, South African, Irish, Welsh, Asian, African teachers during my 17 years as a 'School Mum'.

complexnumber Fri 15-Feb-13 05:59:27

93.6% of all teachers are white. Ecolady

Thanks for the link, I love a big bunch of statistics. It might be worth pointing out that 85.9% of teachers are White British , which ties in quite well with LaurieFairyCake's observation:

85.67% of British people are white British though.

So all is well on the White British/Others ratio.

(I have not looked to see if the ratios for other ethnicites are as you would expect them.)

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:20:58

I was more asking a question, than making a statement smile

From what I have seen, the more challenging black boys respond really well to the black male memberrs if staff. The higher acheiving ones response well to anyone regardless. I'm interested to hear what others experiences are....

I don't think the "I think we should never recruit based in skin colour' is relevant. Getting as many kids as possible as good an education as possible should be the deciding factor

I hear what people are saying about the percentage if white British teachers being equal to the population ratio.....but does this account for the ethnic mix on a local level....Those statistical don't give a detailed enough picture

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:22:30

Black Minority Ethnic ecolady

Isityouorme Fri 15-Feb-13 06:29:43

You can't give jobs to people based on the colour of their skin, regardless of it being police or reaching. It is discrimination.

sashh Fri 15-Feb-13 06:30:07

Well I can recommend a college in Birmingham, in fact a particular campus with a diverse mix of staff and pupils. In fact teaching there I was often the only white person in the room.

But how much does it matter? I know if you only ever see white teachers it might not occur to you that you can be a teacher if you are not white but isn't that why teachers are taught to value diversity and actively celebrate it?

I've shocked quite a few students by knowing a tiny bit about their culture or religion.

Back to that college I mentioned, on their equality and diversity day, you could have Chinese characters applied as henna tattoos by a white student. Or learn to play steel drums from an Asian student. And no one batted an eye lid.

All students, regardless of colour/background could swear in at least two languages.

These were a group of 16-19 year olds who were happy with diversity. They didn't see anything as not them or off limits because their friends didn't.

It did throw up a few interesting discussions such as, 'Miss, is it racist to say that mixed race people are the best looking?'.

aamia Fri 15-Feb-13 06:39:41

How would you fix this though? Asian families and most men do not see teaching as a career that earns enough, or has a high enough social status. It is a vocation, and a wage that you would struggle to bring up a family on if you wanted a mortgage etc. If people do not train, they cannot be employed.

AuntLucyInPeru Fri 15-Feb-13 06:43:51

I agree, of 100 staff members at DS school, only the cook is black. The school is not especially culturally diverse, but is located in central London so recruiting a more diverse selection of teachers surely couldn't be that hard. I haven't yet found the right forum to mention this to the school...

HollyBerryBush Fri 15-Feb-13 06:51:18

I don't see how you can encourage people to take up a profession by racial background.

Using a sterotype, there are a few asian teachers but a lot more asian doctors. Why anyone would want to teach on a pittance when they can have far more career progression and earning power as a doctor is beyond me.

I work in a fairly diverse school, I'd guess 20-25% are West African pupils. That isn't reflected in the teaching staff. The ones that are employed are heavily accented, cannot control the bottom sets (mainly white boys) and require a lot of LSA assistance to keep control of the lesson.

Mind you teaching is a predominantly white female profession. All our SLT are white female. I generally don't go for the recruiting by gender thing either but we could do with some strong male candidates next time round.

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:58:27

It is possible to target different candidates with recruitment campaigns/sweeps I believe

I'm on a pre PGCE course and exactly 50% of us are male....its for secondary. I think its is considered a decent enough wage. Obviously not if you have the capacity to go into medicine

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.

kim147 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:00:49

I work as a supply teacher in Leeds so I get round a number of schools in what is an ethnically diverse city. It's rare to see many male teachers - especially in early years (but I've seen some).

I can honestly say I've not met many non - white teachers - most teachers are white, middle class females.

The support staff is different - and very much reflects the local community. A school I work at does have lot of Afro-Caribbean boys, some of whom have real issues. There are behaviour and learning mentors from similar communities who act as good role models. I think that's a good thing as they understand the children a lot more.

I think teaching is a great profession but incredibly demanding. The pay is good. It's a shame more people don't go into it.

girlonfire Fri 15-Feb-13 13:13:35

I am mixed race and currently a trainee teacher at secondary level.
The two schools I have worked in previously (one primary and one secondary) were both predominantly caucasian. Actually I was the only member of staff who was not caucasian at the primary school and they had 2 male teachers.

complexnumber Fri 15-Feb-13 13:44:01

I wonder if there is any positive influence effected by having non-white teacher in predominantly wwc areas (or any area really)?

A while ago I taught with a black colleague in an area that had very very few non white residents. He did have to field some racist comments but was so far ahead of the thickies he was able to put them in place within 5 seconds.

I really think it was helpful to those students to be confronted with the realities of their ignorance.

AmberLeaf Fri 15-Feb-13 13:50:11

Im in London. didnt mention that before sorry!

coraltoes Fri 15-Feb-13 13:52:57

you dont have to be a different colour to bring diversity to the room. Difference backgrounds, upbringings, education, religion, experiences, temperaments, ways of teaching/learning, personalities all contribute to diversity. If we are going to be vanilla and base it solely on colour, that doesnt mean you werent surrounded by germans, spanish, french, white south africans, south americans, north americans, russians etc. I dont really get the point.

I studied in London and live here now. I had 1 black teacher she was english and middle class. I had working class white male teachers (many), nuns, spanish teachers, french teachers...the diversity was tremendous without the naked eye colour lens applied to it.

coraltoes Fri 15-Feb-13 13:55:08

oh and to start hiring based on colour?! please no way. women in the workplace fought hard to banish this bollocks about positive discrimination, it is about meritocratic hiring, and the same should be the case in every career surely. You want the best person for the job, not the most appropriately coloures of gendered one.

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 14:13:38

He did have to field some racist comments but was so far ahead of the thickies he was able to put them in place within 5 seconds.

Then that is a positive influence, is it not? grin

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 14:14:56

You get into a right minefield if you hire on positive descrimination.

I know someone who ran a business in the US which had this policy. It was a nightmare in the case of disciplinary hearings, as the race card would be pulled out. It really, really shouldn't be an issue. If our school yoiked in some mixed race teacher to 'meet my son's ethnic needs' both me and DH would be very concerned. Our son is as English as pie 'n mash and we don't want him thinking that he can only 'connect' with someone with a similar background (which would need to be pretty specific anyway). Its our job as parents to lead by example, show role models (whatever the sex/age/religion/race) and teach equality. The school is paid to teach him the 3Rs.

complexnumber Fri 15-Feb-13 14:42:23

He did have to field some racist comments but was so far ahead of the thickies he was able to put them in place within 5 seconds.
Then that is a positive influence, is it not?

That's what I thought.

He was a fantastic teacher (in so many ways), I wish I was still with him.

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 15:58:23

I disagree with Positive Discrimination (with capitals). I think as a policy, it's patronising and possibly counter-productive.

But I think if people are doing it from the heart, and the gut, rather than to tick boxes, it can be a marvellous thing that enriches all involved.

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 16:05:18

Do you not think there is a distinction between positive discrmination at large, and recruiting teachers of a given ethnic background because they are most effective at connecting with a demographic of children that are under acheiving?

(if this is the case? As I have said, in my limited experience it would seem so....really really interested to hear different experiences or studies/research if anyone can link?)

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 16:17:08

Then you'd need to word the ads in a way that made it clear that you wanted applicants with a specific background.

It would not exactly be 'fair' if you decide that an afro caribbean male is the best person to teach kids who have family from any 'non white' country of origin. My son isn't white. He isn't black either. His dads origin is never properly categorised on a monitoring form. He was born here, is educated here and lives here. Why would he 'need' a teacher from the other side of the world who would have little in common with him? DS finds his teachers inspiring for different reasons - one ran a marathon, one is in a band, one loves sports cars, one loves to travel...

I don't see why you would expect the school to provide a teacher with your background to make your kids... what? Feel more at home? Will this teach them respect, tolerance, inclusivity? No, we need good teachers - inspirational ones. Maybe better pay if they go into areas with bad results/poor housing etc.

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 16:17:17

I think it's more important to recruit good teachers than to recruit black teachers. I would imagine most black teachers are excellent, and I would like to hope that they are hired because they are excellent and not because they are black. Or to be hired because they are excellent, inspirational, and black, rather than just black.

I would also like to hope that 'connecting' with a person, be they a pupil, colleague, a teacher, or a friend, is about what you have to bring to that relationship as a human being, not as a person of a particular colour. If white people are expected to see past colour and stereotype then I would like to hope that black people can see past it too.

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 16:28:51

Your son wouldn't need a teacher he didn't identify with moomin. I am not suggesting that 'a black man' is better at teaching all children who arent white.

Black carribean males consistently perform worse as a demographic. It has been suggested that they would perform better if there were more male teachers of black carribean descent teaching them (i am not talking about black Africans or MR children) In the school I volunteered in, it was undeniable that the more challenging children of black carribean descent, responded better to those teachers/TAs.

GoOnDoOne Fri 15-Feb-13 16:29:27

This has got me thinking.

I teach in a secondary school in East London. In my current school, there is a good diversity amongst staff. The SLT (and they're very visible around the school) is about 50/50 white/non-white. There are divides between departments though. For example, Maths and ICT are staffed almost entirely by non-white teachers. The TAs and Behaviour Management team also. However, the English Department, Art and Science are all white.

I wonder what messages this sends to our pupils, if any? I've heard no racist comments from the students or been aware of any racist incidents amongst them. Several very homophobic and disabilist ones though. The latter have gone largely unchallenged, unfortunately. Except by me that is. sad

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 16:33:28

I agree fellatio.....that is the question I am interested in....the balance of excellence vs ethnicity, if you are trying to reach a specific group

Obviously if there was a crap black teacher vs an excellent white teacher, its a no brainer. But what if the margin is small.

And I really actually don't know if the kids even do respond better on the whole

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 16:38:19

Maybe 'challenging' children's attitudes need to be 'challenged'. What happens when they get into the world or employment? Sorry boss, you're a white woman so fuck off I'm not listening to you?'. Kids need to learn respect, regardless of sex, colour or religion. I'm not keen on religious schools either (coming from somewhere where segregated schools were/are the norm).

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 16:40:22

Sorry posted too soon....

But it makes sense that they would....everyone knows the importance of role models and seeing yourself reflected back, for children's esteem/aspirations/learning....And if they do I think its dart for everyone to protest that it shouldn't be like that/ethnicity shouldn't be an issue....because you are talking about kids who are by definition immature. And (and and!) a lot also have difficulties at home to. contend with. I wouldn't want to be arguing about the rights and wrongs of why they learn better when taught by a person of same gender/ethnicity, if they do....surely we just need to provide what they need to get an education

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 16:44:11

Interesting go on.....I think the subliminal messages you send the kids is important. Science teachers were all men at one time....there have been lots of campaigns/recruitment drives to redress this I believe?

We live in North East London. Our primary has a very diverse mix of pupils and staff. We are White British.

The executive head is a black British/African woman. The head is a Greek woman. The head of key stage one is a South African man. The head of key stage 2 is a White British man. It's a nice mix of people!

My son is at secondary and there is less diversity amongst the teachers, but his head of yr is a White British woman. His form tutor is a 28 yr old black British man. His head teacher is a middle aged White British man.

They are all good teachers, and that is all that matters to me. The staff reflect the local population, which makes sense to me.

Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 16:47:35

I'm not convinced. Maybe there is more than school/teaching in play. Family set-up for example. Economics. Religion...

My friend, although born here, has both parents from the w'indies. The kids were brought up to respect teachers and education (whacked if they didn't), stand up for themselves and be proud of who they were and where they lived. Same for her kids, although she did tell one to mention her colour in a job application (irrelevant to the job but she thought there may have been some sort of ethnic monitoring in play).

White w/c males seem to come bottom of the pile. Don't asian boys come top? Not colour or race but attitude, and where does this come from?

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:00:14

Yes Asians perform well. Black Africans also I believe

I think summing it up as 'attitude' is a bit simplistic. There is a lot of history, that forms peoples attitudes. Sure, its not a race/genetic link thing...I wasn't suggesting that. There are a lot of socio-economic factors at work. But a lot of them are influenced by your ethnic background

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:12:18
BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:14:17
BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:17:31

Boys in general, and Black boys in particular, are being excluded from school in ever increasing and disproportionate numbers, drawing attention to the need for a closer examination of the interrelationship between ‘race’ and gender. Clearly, young Black masculinities are not expressed in isolation, but are, amongst other influences, informed and shaped by school processes. Within schools, the ways in which masculinities are portrayed plays a major part in the relationships that exist between Black males and their peers and teachers. Thus, the experiences of Black pupils in school are mediated through their gendered identities. This paper discusses such experiences through the findings of a recently completed study of school exclusions and educational performance, in which young excludees have been interviewed and ethnographic school research conducted. The study explores the nature of ‘excluded’ identities by looking at how processes of exclusion act to position young Black males within discourses of conflict, alienation and cultural misunderstanding. The findings suggest that: (i) young Black men are positioned ambivalently by White teachers and male peers resulting in less positive perceptions of their masculinities; (ii) expressions of Black masculinity should not be interpreted as misdirected responses to an inability to attain specific White masculinities; (iii) the views of the young male excludees challenge differential treatment and damaging stereotypes and warn against ‘over masculinising’ the identities of young Black boys; and (iv) restricting discussion of the problematic nature of relationships between Black males and White teachers and male peers, with respect to expressions of masculinity, can act to pathologise Black identities and suggest that Black youth are themselves responsible for their own positioning.


BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:22:44
Moominsarehippos Fri 15-Feb-13 17:30:37

"Adolph Cameron said that in Jamaica, where homophobia was a big issue, school success was often seen as feminine or "gay"."

Bloody hell. God help a gay teacher...

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 17:36:47

Actually I can't be bothered to trawl the internet for a reliable ink but I remember reading a few years back that white working class boys do worst, across the board, in terms of academic achievement. There things can change on a hairpin I am sure, but I think if you are working class and male, (but not Asian) then you are you are screwed either way.

I wonder why?

FellatioNels0n Fri 15-Feb-13 17:38:23

Sorry, that was garbled. I don't know what happened. confused

I meant to say: I know that these things can change on a hairpin (meaning statistics are sensitive to small fluctuations)

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 17:46:02

but I think if you are working class and male, (but not Asian) then you are you are screwed either way

i agree sad

i hope there are some answers, somewhere

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