The purpose of the Man Up Teacher Fellowship UPLiFT program is to build a network of successful male teachers of color with at least three years of experience to serve as mentors to Year 1 and Year 2 Fellows. Sometimes, new teachers just need someone more experienced to navigate through new territories and to get feedback as they walk through the classroom experience.
Our UPLiFT mentors are a touchpoint for our Fellows when they need support and a sounding board for the classroom in “real life.” UPLiFT mentors are men that have years of combined experience, both in the classroom and in administration. UPLiFT Mentors are equipped to walk the Man Up Teacher Fellows through the ins and outs of leadership in the classroom — and throughout their professional career. Because the UPLiFT Mentors have real-life experience and have literally worn those shoes before, they are able to offer more than just a textbook answer. Walking through life and “UPLiFTing” other is one of life’s greatest callings.
There is a dearth of black men in teaching — they make up less than 2% percent of the nation’s teachers. Research cites primary reasons these men don’t consider teaching as a profession, which include low status, low pay and fear of false accusations. Yet, low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and consider attending college; showing the need to reverse this equation.
Black male teachers’ experience and satisfaction depended on whether they were the only Black man in the school, a “Loner,” or one of many Black men in their schools, a “Grouper.” Loners believed they were socially alone and disconnected from the core mission of the school. (see Bristol, T., 2017 article, “To Be Alone or in a Group: An Exploration Into How the School-Based Experiences Differ for Black Male Teachers Across One Urban School District”)
We seek to build a network that supports and supports our growing network so our Fellows can be lifted up.