“Black Teachers are leaving the Profession due to Racism”

This is an excerpt from https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahalothman/black-teachers-say-they-are-quitting-their-jobs-because-of by @HannahAlOthman. Based on research by Runnymede foundation and the NEU.

Pran Patel, a teacher, told BuzzFeed News he had experienced “a whole heap” of racist incidents in his previous teaching roles.

“It’s institutionalised, it’s nothing you wouldn’t expect in any profession, but being a teacher you’d expect it to be a little less prevalent,” Patel, who teaches in Southwark, central London, said.

He described several incidents that had taken place in previous workplaces, including standing in a group of teachers from BME backgrounds when a senior teacher walked past and said, “Are you lot taking over?”

In another incident, a pupil was being reprimanded for behaving badly by a member of staff from Zambia who Patel describes as an “amazing teacher”. The same senior leader from the previous incident told the pupil: “I can’t believe you’re behaving that badly – do you know how much we have to pay to bring these people over to teach you?”

I can't believe you're behaving that badly – do you know how much we have to pay to bring these people over to teach you? Click To Tweet

In a third incident a pupil abused a Turkish member of staff, saying, “All Turkish men are paedophiles.” But the pupil was allowed back in the classroom the next day without having to apologise to the teacher concerned. When the teacher complained to a white senior leader, he was told: “Is this how you are feeling? Or is it really happening?”

“You don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker,” Patel said, on why BME teachers don’t complain more about their treatment.

“The number of times I’ve been told I’m aggressive, when a white counterpart has been told, ‘Look at their passion.’

“I’ve been told my face doesn’t fit – they said, ‘Your results are great, you’re amazing with the kids, but your face doesn’t fit.’ I’ve been passed up for promotion.

“I know a black teacher who was told she doesn’t fit the image of a PE teacher. She was told that she had it over the candidate they picked, but she didn’t fit their stereotype of a teacher.

I know a black teacher who was told she doesn't fit the image of a PE teacher. She was told that she had it over the candidate they picked, but she didn't fit their stereotype of a teacher Click To Tweet

“We’re given pastoral roles because of our ‘skillset’, I don’t understand how that works.

“And black and minority ethnic teachers make up 7% of the workforce, but 2% of headteachers – there’s a massive inequality.

“If you’re a woman or BME you’re going to be in trouble. I’ve had conversations with members of staff who are so disillusioned with being stuck at middle-management level.

“There is a massive exodus of really amazing staff – we’re losing a lot of talent through a lack of career progression.

 

“I think unconscious bias is a massive, massive thing. Governors, when they’re appointing a headteacher, expect a man in his forties or fifties. When they see a young non-white woman sitting in front of them, with all the same credentials, they don’t expect that, so may be less likely to appoint them. Unconscious bias is huge.”

 

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