Future Educator Club

For years I’ve wanted to start an after-school club for students who are thinking about being teachers. Because I love it so much, I have always low-key promoted teaching while I’m actually teaching…so why not do it in a more formal setting? I was part of Future Educators of America when I was in high school, and while I don’t recall us doing a whole lot as part of the club, I do remember feeling affirmed because of it. Most of my friends thought that wanting to be a teacher was crazy. Being part of that club gave me an early sense belonging within the field of education.

Well, in the midst of a pandemic, I finally got a “Future Educator Club” off the ground at my school. We met this week for the first time. We were a small but mighty group which I hope will grow in both vigor and in numbers. I can’t deny the strangeness of a virtual after-school club, though. It’s weird. But everything is weird these days, so meh.

What pushed me over the edge? What finally helped me create a space for students to explore teaching as a viable and important career path? I think internalizing over the last several months how overwhelmingly White teachers are in the U.S. played a big role. Practically all of my students are Black or Brown and I’ve had more than a few through the years tell me that they thinking about perusing teaching. When that happens, I want to do more than smile and encourage them — I want to provide institutional support. And then follow up. It’s a humble dream, but I believe this club could help plant the seeds to get more Black and Brown teachers into the classroom. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

We have to recruit heavily, but exactly what do I do when students come to the club? Outside of surveying this kids who came this week, I don’t have any good ideas right now. We’ll see. I’ve really only found Educators Rising, which is promising, but communicating with them and navigating their site has been wonky and slow.

I could be looking in all the wrong places, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of resources out there for structuring a space like this for high school students. Part of me finds this odd. And problematic. I also wonder if it contributes to the low status that teaching has in our country. As part of a field whose mission is to educate, shouldn’t we be doing more to produce folks who do the educating?



bp

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