improving race relations
Improving Race Relations
June 6, 2012
Teachers As Role Models
Black on Asian Crime
June 13, 2012
improving race relations
Improving Race Relations
June 6, 2012
Teachers As Role Models
Black on Asian Crime
June 13, 2012

Share this article on social networks

By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

Teachers as role models against racism could have lasting influence on impressionable minds at an early age and the lessons could last for a lifetime. Can it be too much to expect our teachers to model inclusiveness in the classroom, both in action and words? If racism is tolerated or practiced by teachers, what can one expect from the students they teach?

A report this week illustrated how a middle school teacher was put on administrative leave for making an improper remark to one her black pupils in front of the entire class. It is reported that she first called the pupil by the wrong name, and when he pointed it out, she said, “How about black boy. Go sit down, black boy.”

We cannot anticipate the practice of racism, cultural ignorance, wanton disrespect, and insensitivity to quit if parents, teachers, and other caring adults working with children on a daily basis, usually do not make a concerted effort to educate that which we share a common humanity, the color of our skin makes no material difference.

The focus must shift to what we all hold in common as kids, teens, adults as citizens. The emphasis is clear that we each can only be enlightened having an understanding of our differences, and that understanding will lay the foundation to work collectively to solve that which divides us.

If teachers will not be about the business of teaching and modeling respect and comprehension across race and culture before the students in their classrooms, we, as a society, have to be concerned with the very fabric, the glue that holds us together, and going in the right direction.

Sensitivity training is a part of the right course for the middle school in Waterbury. But just a first step that is a minimum. Hopefully, the training will result in positive changes in behavior where needed and function as reinforcement where model behavior exists.

Concerned parents, the school board, and the teachers association expressed their anxiety. The board decided to apply a policy requiring that faculty and staff require sensitivity training. The teacher’s organization issued a statement reiterating their dedication to work for the success of each child or ethnicity. Concerned parents’ outrage was expressed, certainly affirming that such racist behavior is not acceptable, particularly from the teaching profession.

That occurred in a school in Waterbury, Connecticut, and picked up by the evening news. How many such instances happen in classrooms on a daily basis across the nation in an amount that is worse or less?

What are our expectations of those in positions of influence in regards to trying to educate and enlighten others about ethnicity, race, and culture? Regrettably, and too commonly, the behavior wanted isn’t what is modeled. Stereotypical beliefs, envisioned or incorrect, govern our impulsive actions or reactions. Teachers as role models against racism could be powerful.

More importantly, for those schools let us hope that change will happen even if the evening news is not made by events at their school.

Edited and Reprinted with Permission of

Share this article on social networks

Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.


  1. Faith Elize says:

    Many of my aunts are teachers. some teaching elementary and middle school while others are teaching high school, and still some university students. Most of them are very laid back and according to them, the best payment is when they see that their students learned more than what they are taught from books.

  2. AJ says:

    The reason why I wanted to become a history teacher was because I had an awesome history teacher, and that’s saying a lot! Teachers can be really great role models for students – as people who students see and talk to the majority of their lives aside from their parents, they also invest a lot into what molds children as they grow up into adults. Educating them about academics should go hand in hand with educating them a lot about life, especially what goes on around them as support for what they are already learning at home.

  3. Tom Esthber says:

    Teachers are great role models! They push students to make for themselves a better life and future through academics!

  4. Nancy Mburu says:

    teachers should be extremely sensitive on there remarks towards their pupils and especially the young minds as this can affect there growing up and how they will be dealing with different issues in there life eg there skin colour and backgrounds.

  5. Justin Trillo says:

    Teachers have the most impact in the life of students, specially for the younger ones. Kids spend most of their time in school, rather than at home, so they usually pick up what their teachers tell them. Thus, teachers should always be mindful of the words they say, as that is what is cultivated in the young minds of these kids.

  6. Allie says:

    Teachers create a huge impact on child development. I will never forget my teacher on 8th grade who pushed me to continue my studies and motivated me to fight in life.

  7. Danielle says:

    I agree with your article. The teachers have a big impact in the way how the kids learn, and they are also responsable for what the teach or dnt when they are in the classroom.

  8. David Mureithi says:

    You definitely expect children to practise what they are taught. It’s good for every teacher to make sure he/she teaches the right way. Young individuals will always follow what their senior do.

  9. Susie says:

    I just think, if teachers give the right of direction to students, students can learn a lot from them. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Matt says:

    I hope the teacher in this post was sanctioned by the school authority to serve as a deterrent to others. It behoves on teachers as role models to lead aright and be a good example to teens and children.

  11. cess garate says:

    Hopefully, teachers will be role models as they are the one who educates the youth. sometimes if the parents are kind’a racist themselves, the teacher can correct the child notion.

  12. Vikram Parmar says:

    Teachers are considered role models. Teachers pave the path for success in the student’s lives.

  13. Kuttan says:

    Teaching is a noble profession and teachers are having a major responsibility of bringing up a child as a good citizen so teachers are expected to have a minimum level of etiquette ,culture, vision.They should not discriminate a child on the basis of color race,money or in any other manner.Apart from their education if they don;t possess these qualities they are not fit for the job of a teacher

  14. love says:

    Teachers should help bridge the gap and make children learn early enough how to relate with every race with respect and love.To make life worth living for everyone then teachers must incalculable into new generations the basic discipline.

  15. Scott Summers says:

    As they say teachers are our second parents. They are definitely an inspiration or if not a contributor to what I am today. For that I say thank you.

  16. Rae says:

    Thank you for the informative and lovely article. I must say, I quite agree with the notion that teachers are wonderful role models especially kids. School is the second place where a child starts to mold his future and personality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *