MenTeach E-News - March 2021

MenTeach E-News
March 2021

1) Darrion Cockrell went from gang member to Missouri's 2020 teacher of the year
2) Man-Up receives additional funding
3) Professional Caregiving Men find Meaning and Pride in their Work, But Face Stigma
4) Georgia Power Foundation Grant To Help KSU Boost Number Of Black Male Educators
5) Black educators can help solve racial disparities in education
6) Philly-based group launches $3M initiative to develop Black teachers
7) New Zealand: Lake Tekapo School's all male teaching staff
8) Preschool teacher shares student's head-turning comment while playing kitchen: 'I'm still shocked'
9) Pacific Oaks College announces lifelong educator and first African American male as dean of the School of Education
10) Educator of the Week: Adam Martin

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1) Darrion Cockrell went from gang member to Missouri's 2020 teacher of the year
Darrion Cockrell credits his teachers with saving his life when he was a young gang member in St. Louis, Missouri.

This year, the 34-year-old elementary school physical education teacher who works in Crestwood, Missouri, was named Missouri's 2021 Teacher of the Year.

"I still can't believe it," Cockrell told "Good Morning America" of the honor, which has been bestowed on only 51 other people in the state of Missouri.

"Just having a job is something I'm so appreciative of, because growing up, people didn't have jobs," he said. "That's why when people see me, I'm always happy and laughing and smiling because I get a paycheck every two weeks and not only do I get to get a paycheck, but I get to get it by doing something that I actually, truly love."

Cockrell had to overcome many obstacles to become a teacher at all.

He was raised as a young child by both his grandmother and a series of rotating foster parents after his father, a drug dealer, was murdered and his mother battled drug addiction, according to Cockrell.

One of the only things he enjoyed about going to school was his physical education class, but outside of school his life was very different, and at a young age, he joined a gang.

"We were just already in it because of our family," he said of the gang. "I didn't care about books. I had to go home and figure out what I was eating. I had to figure out if my lights were going to be on."

In middle school, after his grandmother again lost custody of him and his siblings, Cockrell was close to being transferred from a local foster center for boys to a boarding school for troubled youth, when his teachers stepped in. Watch the video:
http://menteach.org/node/3616

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2) Man-Up receives additional funding
The enormity of the data that suggests a need for more effective male teachers of color in our schools is the propeller behind this movement.

As the founder of Man Up, this movement reflects my personal life experiences. As an African American elementary teacher, I was often one of a handful of male teachers in the building. I was often assigned the most difficult students who were usually male students with behavior problems.

Often single mothers would request their son be placed in my classroom "because he needed a man in his life". These requests were made without any knowledge of my effectiveness as a teacher but only with hopes that a positive male presence would somehow impact their sons' lives.

There is little research supporting this claim; however, there is endless research on the positive impact of mentoring and also on the positive impact of knowledgeable teachers. Sign up for the Man-Up Program: http://menteach.org/node/3622

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3) Professional Caregiving Men find Meaning and Pride in their Work, But Face Stigma
Men who work as paid professional caregivers are a small minority in health, education, and many caring professions. Based on qualitative interviews and non-scientific survey data, we find that men who provide care professionally are proud of their care work and find it deeply meaningful. Still, many say they face gendered stereotypes and stigma, and some feel that society doesn't respect them or trust them to give care because of their gender. Men in nursing and other health professions, however, tend to face less stigma than men in early care and learning professions, and some are even afforded more respect and authority because of their gender.

As automation and artificial intelligence rapidly reshape the nature of work, caring professions, which require warmth, empathy and human interaction, are among the fastest growing and most future-proof jobs. Yet women predominantly occupy these professions, driven by the gendered stereotype beliefs that care work is "women's work," and that women are naturally "warm" and better suited for caring occupations, and that men are more "competent," and thus more inclined to competition. Caring jobs are, as a result, undervalued, seen as less challenging or requiring less skill as jobs in sectors dominated by men, and underpaid. Understanding better what caring jobs truly entail and what could attract and retain men to these fast-growing caring professions could be critical for the future economy, worker and family health, wellbeing and stability, as well as for helping to drive the transformation of these undervalued jobs into decent, dignified and respected work for people of all genders. Read the Report: http://menteach.org/node/3625

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4) Georgia Power Foundation Grant To Help KSU Boost Number Of Black Male Educators
Kennesaw State University has received a grant from the Georgia Power Foundation for an initiative to increase the number of African American male teachers.

Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models), a program launched in KSU's Bagwell College of Education, will provide academic support, mentorship, tuition assistance and job placement assistance to promote success among Black male teacher candidates. The Bagwell College has begun recruiting applicants among incoming freshmen and current students and will welcome its inaugural cohort this fall.

"Schools and communities are growing increasingly diverse and, while school systems throughout the country have recognized the importance of Black male teachers, they often struggle to recruit and retain them," said Adrian Epps, interim dean of the Bagwell College of Education. "We believe that the Call Me MISTER program will exponentially enhance the Bagwell College's commitment to increasing Black male presence in the teaching field."

Students of color represent more than half of the public school population in the United States, but Black males account for only 2% of the teacher workforce, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. As part of Call Me MISTER's efforts to narrow that gap, participants will be engaged in mentorship and learning opportunities starting in their very first semesters at KSU. Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/3627

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5) Black educators can help solve racial disparities in education
As we close out Black History Month, I believe Jacksonville has an opportunity to make history by investing in black educators.

Research has shown that teacher diversity helps all students, especially students who look like them. One study found that low-income black boys are 39 percent more likely to graduate high school if they have just one black male teacher in elementary school. That is an astounding figure from a rigorous, long-term study.

Education experts offer a couple explanations for this. One is representation: Black teachers are living proof to students that they can achieve great things in college and career. Another is cultural responsiveness: Black teachers who share the background of their students may be able to relate to them more easily, and be less likely to have implicit biases that negatively impact students.

This month, Jacksonville Public Education Fund is releasing new research about teacher recruitment and retention in Duval County. Our in-depth analysis of three years of data from Duval County Public Schools shows Duval County is keeping pace in a very difficult environment for teacher recruitment and retention. Digging deeper, we see the opportunities for improvement are around closing the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color.

One of the most promising solutions is diversifying our teacher workforce. Read the editorial: http://www.menteach.org/node/3629

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6) Philly-based group launches $3M initiative to develop Black teachers
A Philadelphia-based organization devoted to recruiting and supporting Black educators on Thursday announced a $3 million educational justice initiative to dramatically ramp up the number of Black teachers in classrooms across the country.

The initiative by the Center for Black Educator Development will focus on the Black Teacher Pipeline, a program targeting high school and college students with pre-apprenticeships, fellowships, apprenticeships, and scholarships. It aims to bring at least 21,000 Black students into the teacher pipeline over 12 years.

It's part of the vision of Sharif El-Mekki, a longtime Philadelphia educator who launched the center in 2019, moved by research that shows having Black teachers closes educational and opportunity gaps for children of color.

Black children taught by Black teachers are 30% more likely to enroll in college. Nationally, 15% of all students are Black, but just 7% of teachers are. The numbers are much starker in Philadelphia and other big cities. Read their story: http://menteach.org/node/3631

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7) New Zealand: Lake Tekapo School's all male teaching staff
It has been a testosterone-fuelled start to the year at Lake Tekapo School, with all three teaching roles at the small Mackenzie school filled by males.

With a roll of 33 it is also the first time in acting principal Wayne Facer's 33-year career in education to be at a school totally staffed by men.

While Ministry of Education deputy secretary early learning and student achievement Ellen MacGregor said it was unusual for a school to have all an all male teaching staff, it was not unheard of, particularly in small schools.

She said in 2019 five schools throughout New Zealand had all male teachers, and all had fewer than five teachers.

Facer is acting principal at the school, while principal Simon Waymouth is on sabbatical for this term.

"I've found myself in a rare situation with all male teachers," Facer said.

"We are staffed 100 per cent by males. It's the first time in my career and I trained in the late 1980s. It's an oddity but it's fantastic," Facer said. Read the story: http://menteach.org/node/3634

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8) Preschool teacher shares student's head-turning comment while playing kitchen: 'I'm still shocked'
According to preschool teacher and TikToker Tell Williams IV, "students say some crazy stuff."

On Feb. 23, the educator shared a hilarious story with his 599,000 followers about the shocking exchange he had with one of his students while they were playing "pretend restaurant."

"I've been teaching preschool now for, like, 8 years. Somehow I'm still shocked over some of the things that come out of these children's' mouths," he said.

While Williams was playing pretend restaurant with his students, one of them decided she was going to be the owner, the server and the chef. "I won't lie, her restaurant was, like, kinda lit," he joked.

When Williams was ready to order his final dish (a piece of pie) and get the check, he finally decided to look over at his student's play kitchen - and what he saw was rather disturbing. Read the story: http://menteach.org/node/3635

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9) Pacific Oaks College announces lifelong educator and first African American male as dean of the School of Education
Pacific Oaks College & Children's School (PO) announces the appointment of Jerell B. Hill, Ed.D., as the new dean of Pacific Oaks College's School of Education. His appointment comes after having served as interim dean since July 2020. Dr. Hill is a longstanding member of the greater Pasadena community and is the first African American male to serve as dean for the School of Education. He has more than 20 years of experience as a K-12 educator and administrator as well as a higher education professor and administrator.

"We are honored to announce Dr. Jerell Hill as our newest dean at Pacific Oaks College. It means so much to PO that Dr. Hill's impact as an African American male leader in the field of education is far reaching. He is a role model to black men and other men of color, demonstrating that they too can pursue education and be leaders in the profession," Dr. Jack Paduntin, president of PO, said. "I look forward to the legacy Dr. Hill will build and the impact he will create for the School of Education and our future teachers." Read the announcement: http://www.menteach.org/node/3637

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10) Educator of the Week: Adam Martin
Adam Martin has taken the road less traveled, and it is that path that led him to Racine. Becoming an Educator wasn't where Martin saw his future, but it's definitely where he's meant to be. This first-grade teacher at Jefferson Lighthouse International Baccalaureate Elementary School strives to be the best he can be during these unusual times.

Racine Unified School District has been operating online this school year due to COVID-19. While new to virtual teaching, Martin is not new to the education field. Before his current position, he taught at Julian Thomas Elementary School. This year will be his fifth year as a teacher.

Martin was born and raised in New Mexico. From there, he moved to Nebraska for college and attended the University of Nebraska. He was a member of the football team there for 2 years. He earned his Bachelor's degree in finance. He wanted to work in the stock market, specifically. However, at the time of his graduation, the United States faced the Great Recession of 2008.

Martin was without work but he had a degree. After thinking about what he would do, he joined the military. Martin says, "My grandparents and my dad were in the military. So, I decided to go through with it. Since I had my degree, I applied to officer school."

He was accepted and spent 6 years serving in the United States Army. He ended his career as a Captain. The ending of his military career was also the start of his journey to becoming an educator. He can't help but to thank his wife for the encouragement.

Becoming an Educator

Martin met his wife, Heidi, online. Their relationship was long distance while he was serving. This educator is no stranger to making things work with the help of technology. After his time serving, he took a leap of faith and moved to Wisconsin.

The next phase of his life began while working as a substitute teacher. He worked in high schools and middle schools. Martin got his teaching license at Cardinal Stritch University and his Master's degree in Early Childhood Literacy.

 His love for teaching was found when he subbed for his wife's classroom. She is now a first-grade teacher at Wisconsin Virtual Academy and has been teaching for 9 years.

Martin says, "Education is a primarily female dominate field, but as a male first-grade teacher, it helps bring a different lens to the classroom." Read his story:
http://www.menteach.org/node/3639

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