Recently there was a powerful social media campaign that implored education leaders, administrators, and organizations about the importance of increasing the number of Black teachers in the classroom. A Johns Hopkins study points to the indelible impact that Black teachers have on ALL students, not just students of color.
But I've come to issue a challenge to those who are perpetuating a narrative that I think warrants consideration - if more Black teachers are to choose education, how available will you be to them?
Black teachers leave the classroom just as quickly as they enter. That is because the loudest voices that call for change render themselves unavailable or unwilling to get dirty when Black teachers arrive in their school communities.
It's one thing to be noisy on Twitter or Instagram, but I've found something particularly interesting about "equity and diversity warriors" with great power and influence.
They are too busy.
Too busy to mentor. Too busy to talk. Too busy to strategize. Too busy to organize. Too busy to empathize. Too busy to lend their support. Too busy to make it. Too busy to sign their name. Too busy to speak to your church. Too busy to speak to your class. Too busy to answer your DM. Too busy to text you.
They are too busy for #MoreBlackTeachers
We live in a day and age where "securing the bag" is of the utmost importance. Our most POWERFUL voices in education are booked up with engagements for months on end.
Getting the next sponsorship for your podcast or appearing on cable news or getting your honorarium for appearances is lovely, but many times it's at the expense of your presence at a meeting that could've HEAVILY INFLUENCED a school district to consider a program that would've made waves in these efforts - but we are happy that you got your BAG, we're not mad at that.
That begs the question - At what cost do #WeNeedMoreBlackTeachers and who are we depending on to be there for them if we're all too busy. We're even way too busy to teach those who are not too busy to carry the mantle. You make time for what you value. So if #weneedmoreblackteachers wouldn't it behoove us to make time for those who need the help of the most influential?
I get it. We're all influential in our own way, but social media has made influence quantifiable - there's a number attached to influence.
The evidence of other communities making time for their own is evident. We do it too! However, as Black and Brown people we are in a crisis especially as it pertains to needing Black teachers, so in our great efforts to advance our personal brands, businesses, and followers, ask yourself - Who did you make yourself too busy for today?