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Educational Border Crossers: Recruiting and Retaining New Minority Teachers
Unformatted Document Text:  cultural comforts, events and services. Being far from family, friends, and other supportive relationships are also cited as challenges for retention. While many new minority teachers are able to adjust well to their new environments and teaching demands, more can be done to support and mentor this group. This partnership model is designed to address the unique concerns of these minority teachers to support them in establishing avenues of personal, professional, and cultural support. We know that providing support to new teachers is critical, particularly during the first three years of teaching when they are most likely to leave the profession. In addition, the authors of this paper argue that new teachers must be provided with training what Geneva Gay terms “culturally relevant pedagogy” and to embrace their roles as “cultural workers” (Freire, 1998) . This model has a strong emphasis on the cultural assets of both new teachers and their students, and focuses on effective cultural “border crossings” (Anzaldua, 1987) as a means to increase minority student achievement and motivation. Many of the teachers in this project have had similar schooling experiences as their students and understand firsthand the Inner World of the Immigrant Child” (Igoa, 1995). Like their students, many of the teachers in this study have had to negotiate their identity, language and culture in creative ways in their journey through the American schooling process. As such, they are often naturally inclined and encouraged through this mentoring model to provide more inclusive and pluralistic practices rather than endorsing homogenizing school policies. Instead, they are encouraged to heed Laurie Olsen’s advice (2002) to : honor and support the gifts ad strengths childen and youth bring through their cultural and linguistic heritage; [and to] recognize the benefits of developing skill and connection in more than one culture and language; and create the conditions and support for young people to be able to claim their own cultural world, appreciate and learn about other cultural realities, and gain the skills to build bridges across cultures, religious faiths and languages (pp. 14-15) In attempting to recruit, train and retain culturally competent teachers, partnering school districts were asked to identify twenty beginning minority teachers who would be interested in tapping into their cultural resources as well as developing in their professional role in their districts. These teachers were then invited to participate in a two day summer institute summer held at the sponsoring university participate and receive extra support and also have the opportunity to establish a key network with other colleagues from minority backgrounds. Schools were encouraged to identify teachers who would most benefit from developing collaborative and multicultural leadership skills in their schools. Over the course of the summer institute, school teams, faculty experts, district personnel and various consultants came together to sup in their students port one another in the teaching field; sharing experiences, drawing strengths from multicultural backgrounds, conducting problem-posing and solving, exchanging ideas, and developing strategies for themselves as they continue to develop in their cultural identity as minority teachers.

Authors: Favela, Alejandra. and Torres, Danielle.
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cultural comforts, events and services. Being far from family, friends, and other
supportive relationships are
also cited as challenges for retention. While many new minority teachers are able to
adjust well to their new environments and teaching demands, more can be done to
support and mentor this group. This partnership model is designed to address the unique
concerns of these minority teachers to support them in establishing avenues of personal,
professional, and cultural support.
We know that providing support to new teachers is critical, particularly during the first
three years of teaching when they are most likely to leave the profession. In addition, the
authors of this paper argue that new teachers must be provided with training what Geneva
Gay terms “culturally relevant pedagogy” and to embrace their roles as “cultural
workers” (Freire, 1998) . This model has a strong emphasis on the cultural assets of both
new teachers and their students, and focuses on effective cultural “border crossings”
(Anzaldua, 1987) as a means to increase minority student achievement and motivation.
Many of the teachers in this project have had similar schooling experiences as their
students and understand firsthand the Inner World of the Immigrant Child” (Igoa, 1995).
Like their students, many of the teachers in this study have had to negotiate their identity,
language and culture in creative ways in their journey through the American schooling
process. As such, they are often naturally inclined and encouraged through this
mentoring model to provide more inclusive and pluralistic practices rather than endorsing
homogenizing school policies. Instead, they are encouraged to heed Laurie Olsen’s
advice (2002) to :
honor and support the gifts ad strengths childen and youth bring through their
cultural and linguistic heritage; [and to] recognize the benefits of developing skill
and connection in more than one culture and language; and create the conditions
and support for young people to be able to claim their own cultural world,
appreciate and learn about other cultural realities, and gain the skills to build
bridges across cultures, religious faiths and languages (pp. 14-15)
In attempting to recruit, train and retain culturally competent teachers, partnering school
districts were asked to identify twenty beginning minority teachers who would be
interested in tapping into their cultural resources as well as developing in their
professional role in their districts. These teachers were then invited to participate in a
two day summer institute summer held at the sponsoring university participate and
receive extra support and also have the opportunity to establish a key network with other
colleagues from minority backgrounds. Schools were encouraged to identify teachers
who would most benefit from developing collaborative and multicultural leadership skills
in their schools.
Over the course of the summer institute, school teams, faculty experts, district personnel
and various consultants came together to sup in their students port one another in the
teaching field; sharing experiences, drawing strengths from multicultural backgrounds,
conducting problem-posing and solving, exchanging ideas, and developing strategies for
themselves as they continue to develop in their cultural identity as minority teachers.


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