Teacher Diversity: it “definitely affects behavior.”
March 11, 2018
According to the National Center of Education Statistics and numbers given by Laura Hoffman Hordyk, the Human Resource Supervisor for the Wayzata School District, in Wayzata High School, the ratio of nonwhite students to nonwhite teachers is 97:1. The ratio of African American students to teachers that identify as African American is 42:1.
“Diversity is important for students so they can just be able to identify with someone else and not feel as alone. Knowing that someone looks like you and is accomplishing their goals is important,” said WHS Achievement Interventionist Roger Brown.
According to Hordyk, there are 9 teachers at Wayzata High School who identify as a race other than white. 5 of those 9 teachers identify as African American.
“The low number of teachers of color definitely affects behavior. There could be that one comment and as a person of color, we have heard that exchange so many times. To us, it means something so completely different,” said Achievement Interventionist Joyce Hayden.
Wayzata High School paraprofessional Tracey Hill grew up and went to school in Chicago. Hayden said, “It was very diverse and the teachers exposed us to so much. There were so many different views that it really made you think outside of the box. I feel like having a diverse staff definitely helps students.”
“Everyone continues to say that they are there for you and that they understand, but they have never gone through the things that I have. I feel like we should have more African American teachers who can be there” for students of color, “especially in a school that is mostly white students,” said Junior Shania Gregory.
According to Hill, many students of color feel as if teachers don’t understand them.
“There is that chip on one’s shoulder that makes a student feel like they can’t let anyone in because they don’t feel understood. I hear that no one cares a lot. I hear that everyday, ‘they don’t care about us,’” said Hill.
“I am really self-conscious about what I look like to others so if I was in a situation where I needed to talk to an adult, I would be really scared,” said Junior Pavit Kohli.
According to Kohli, if he ever wanted to talk to one of his teachers about his race, it would be very hard to.
According to the National Center of Education Statistics, there are 871 students at Wayzata High School who identify as a race other than white. Of these 871 students, 210 identify as African American.
“Life is hard enough as it is anyway. This should be a place where you should be supported and accepted for who you are. I feel like us teachers are all here to build you guys up and to show you all of the possibilities that you can do,” said Hill.
Social studies teacher Adam Woods said, “The more teachers of color in the building, the better the school will be as a whole. The amount of role models available will only bring more success to our student body.”
Hill said, “We all have to keep in mind what it is like to be a teenager. I feel like a lot of adults in this building lose sight of that. You guys are still kids and are just trying to evolve and find yourselves.”