Post # 7: What We’ve Learned. Independent School Educators.

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Over the years we’ve experienced how the selective process of independent school teacher recruitment benefits overall classroom dynamics, curriculum, and student outcomes. Independent school educators tend to be passionate and empowered about teaching. They come prepared, not just with degrees but areas of expertise. They are enthusiastic and many share their outside interests through after-school programs like sports, theater, STEM, and social justice. I have had the pleasure of meeting many dynamic educators teaching at independent schools.

On Saturdays in early September, our middle and upper school hosts Parents Day. It mirrors what the school year will be like for students getting to class on time, approaching classroom curriculum and dynamics. The expectation is that teachers will wow us with their expertise in a subject and communication skills, reassuring parents that we’ve made the absolute right decision in investing in the school.

I often walk away from that day feeling confident, energized and exhausted. And, there are moments when teachers really wow us as parents. We envy the early learning environments teachers provide for our young children, and we are totally impressed by the level of engagement teachers offer our college prep students.

Families of color have extra expectations about teachers and classroom dynamics. Here are the ones that come top of mind. It is our hope they will inform other parents of color partnering with our schools.

* We want to see more faculty of color. They’re scarce. There are a number of reasons including lack of historical representation and salary. Yes, public school teachers are paid more than private (but, there are other valued benefits), unless there is a leadership role attached to it. Faculty of color is beneficial for all children.

*We also want to stand in solidarity with our valued faculty and administrators of color as we face similar experiences in predominantly white spaces.

*We want to make sure teachers see our kids for who they are. We want them to control the room for stereotype threat, microaggression, and invisibility.

*We want our kids to develop student-teacher connections that encourage independence, curiosity, and access to continued academic and leadership opportunities.

*We expect open door policy and accountability too.

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