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View Full Document Right Arrow Icon reports/teacher2000-1st.shtml The Role of the African-American Teacher: Why it’s Essential in the School System by Dr. Gilbert Brown Like most in her field, Sandra DeLaney didn’t become a teacher because of the pay. The average salary for elementary and secondary educators is $40,574, which at first glance seems like a decent bit of change. That is until you consider that the average is tens of thousands of dollars less per year than professionals in other fields are paid, according to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Factor in the hours spent in and outside the classroom, the physical and emotional exertion required to handle two children, let alone 25, and the stress associated with shaping one’s future, and you quickly come to the conclusion that teachers are underpaid. “If you’re entering the field for monetary rewards, you’re in the wrong profession," says DeLaney, a seventh-grade teacher at Bay Point Middle School in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Teaching, however, is filled with many other intangible rewards. When you have the opportunity to see your students become productive members of society or prosper in lucrative careers, their accomplishments are compensation for the pay you’re lacking.” In her 20 years of teaching countless seventh graders, and at one time eighth graders, the long-time educator has been enriched by the many success stories that once sat in her classroom. Terrence Crawford, a young man whom she recalls having big deer eyes and a kind smile, recently graduated from dental school and was featured in an article in the local newspaper. Sonya Thompson is a
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lawyer. Professional football player William Floyd, her most notable pupil, won a Super Bowl ring during his stint with the 49ers. And there are others, doctors, educators (four of whom work with her at Bay Point), etc. “Sometimes you’re not aware of the impact you have on their lives,” says DeLaney, who was shocked to learn a few years back that Clara Beckford, one of her quieter students, had nominated her in the teacher’s category of Who’s Who in America. Making a difference in the lives of the Beckfords' of the world is what attracted her to the profession two decades ago. What has kept her coming back year after year—even though many of her colleagues have left to pursue more profitable endeavors—is the fact that she is one of a lopsided percentage of African-American teachers in her district. Today, roughly 30 percent of the educators in her school are minorities. According to an annual study , Bay Point Middle School is not the only institution lacking in teachers of color. The “ 1998 Digest of Educational Statistics ” reported that out of a public school teaching population of 2,561,294 teachers, 2,216,605 were White; 188,371 Black; 108,744 Hispanic; 27,510 Asian or Pacific Islander; and 20,064 American Indian or Alaskan, indicating that the teaching profession is becoming more racially
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AAA351 teacherinfo -...

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