Episode 1: The Impact of Black Male Educators

Source: Ebony Magazine

Source: Ebony Magazine

As teachers and students across the country prepare for a new school year, I thought it would be powerful to open the new season with a conversation about the importance and impact of Black male educators in urban schools. As a former educator I have seen first hand the impact, and have researched and written about the importance in my graduate school courses. I wanted to learn more about other Black male educators experiences and their thoughts on some of the inconvenient truths of being an educator in an urban school.
— Dirrick Butler

If you enjoyed this video, check out the full conversation below.

We all know that the education field is overwhelmingly occupied by a majority of white women. More specifically, 77% of all teachers are women and of that remaining 23% who are men, only 2% of them are Black men (https://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/08/28/why-so-few-black-male-teachers). Why is this? This has been a question that has been a question long pondered long before today. These dismal statistics have been the subject of countless research, articles and roundtable discussions similar to the one I hosted in Chicago earlier this summer. 

Throughout my school years (elementary, middle and high school), I have only had one Black male teacher, and I remember him for obvious reasons. Mr. Smith was my 4th grade math teacher. He was an older man who was a pastor at a local church and had been teaching for years. He was a great teacher, but often seemed more like a disciplinarian. I probably added a few more gray hairs to his already established salt and pepper style. Outside of him, there were a few other Black males that I encountered either in administration, the occasional gym coach, band instructor or the more prevalent one, Dean of Students. But surprisingly in 13-years of primary and secondary education, I have only experienced one Black male teacher. I even corroborated this with my mom, and she was even surprised. 

In this first episode of Season 3, I wanted to converse with other Black male teachers in Chicago and learn more about their experiences as teachers. I also wanted to know was I alone in only having one Black male teacher growing up. This conversation turned into an hour long conversation that I think answered a lot of my questions but also left me wanting to know more. 

We convened on a Saturday morning in Hyde Park, a beautifully diverse neighborhood in Chicago. We exchanged a few greetings while production was setting up, and dived right in. 

I hope you enjoyed our conversation.

Roundtable Participants:


Joseph Mason

Principal, Urban Prep-Englewood 


Jerome Johnson

Social Studies Teacher, Learn Academy 


Devin Evans

Language Arts Teacher, Butler College Prep 


Marcus Woods

Academic Counselor, Urban Prep-West