What Does A Teacher Look Like?


I do think the group of teachers below (including me) fit the part:



Now that I have completed another academic semester of teaching (I am in year 8), I must ask the question: What does a teacher/scholar look like? I have had instructors and worked beside a number of them enough to know that there is no consistent look. Here are a few that I work with, trained and took courses under, or met at a conference. Some wear glasses while others do not; some wear jackets and ties to class while others look as if they just rolled out of bad; some have written great academic material while some have not. Is he or she of a particular race or ethnicity?

For some, the ideal looking teacher is Jack Keating of Dead Poets Society, as seen above. At times, I think of Mark Elrod, the guy in the bow tie that I took a few courses from; I can picture my law school friend Jeff Baker, who teaches at Jones School of Law. I am sure you can guess which one he is.

When I think of what a teacher looks like, I often think of Toni Morrison (above). I have always wondered what it would be like to sit in a Morrison seminar? Seeing her beautiful smile and grayish dreadlocks hang as she asked me a question about race and literature. Because I never had a teacher of color after 8th grade, I have long wondered what a class would be like if I had a black male teacher guiding my class responses?



7 thoughts on “What Does A Teacher Look Like?

  1. Ok Carson, I noticed a shortage of females here. I would describe myself not only as a teacher/scholar, but an activist. Because I like you, I will not explain the activist part. I know your school is prettty conservative. I think oftenly of Angela Davis when I think of a teacher. She has been the model of feminism for years.

  2. I have to say that it would be nice if there were more minoity teachers. As a white guy I know that I carry a lot of baggage into a Social Studies class. I have a lot of minority students and I’m sure they like me well enough but I can’t help but thinking that they might like a teacher that looks more like them. I think they notice after awhile that there are very few minority teachers on our campus especially outside of the Spanish departmnet.
    I know there is probably quite a bit of research out there about why we don’t have more minority teachers. I just don’t have time to look it up. I try to encourage may of my minority students to go into education especially if they complain about the fact that they have no minority teachers. It seems like many of our best minority students are choosing more lucrative career paths than education.
    I don’t know what a teacher is supposed to LOOK like. I’m more concerned about what teacher’s ACT like. I think they need a spirit of kindness and concern for students. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think being an activist is part of a teacher’s role. We are there to help students begin to form their own opinions about the way the world operates and not try to influence them into believing what we believe. I don’t think it is ethical to take a captive audience and try to convert them to your belief system. TEACHERS give students the facts and let them form their own opinions, not expect them to parrot ours.

  3. //I have long wondered what a class would be like if I had a black male teacher guiding my class responses?//

    It’s no different than having any other teacher or any other race guiding the me.

    I hope you don’t expect your students to view you differently because of your race…

    I do my best not to relate to people by their race, and I feel it would be rather shallow and closed minded of anyone to have such pre-conceived notions about their teacher for that reason.

    And please no “you wouldn’t understand because you’re the majority” rebuttals.

  4. If not teaching style than I guess you’re referring to content?

    I would love to say that this is history you are teaching and history is the same because well… it’s already happened, but I can tell you from personal experience it’s not always that way.

    The perfect example of this being told the earth is 6000 years old and made in 7 days… Historical that fails…(I know I’m getting into science here). But until I honestly used to thing the inquisition was a good thing or that Aristotle is burning hell for committing suicide while Galileo is in heaven with the angels for denouncing his blasphemy against the church…

    I said all that to sort of disprove myself early in that teaching will be different from different people.

    BUT… my example was of religion, could you please explain to me something you would have seen differently with a teacher of a different race?

  5. “wondered what a class would be like if I had a black male teacher guiding my class responses?”

    You aren’t missing any thing, the class magically turns into a bunch of parrots.

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