Anthony White: 2003 NC Teaching Fellow
Posted January 25, 2019 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2019 6:44 a.m. EST
This interview was conducted by email as part of a series on teacher diversity in North Carolina.
- Read the full series: NC's teacher diversity gap
- Read more interviews with other North Carolina Teaching Fellows
What years were you a Teaching Fellow, and what college did you attend?
I attended North Carolina Central University as a Teaching Fellow from 2003 to 2007.
Why did you apply to be a Teaching Fellow, and how did the program affect your life?
The reputation of the NC Teaching Fellows Program largely led me to apply for it. The Teaching Fellows recipients were deemed to be the cream of the crop of future educators. I realized that this designation would help prepare me for the teaching profession and also make me stand out as I began to look for jobs in the future.
The feedback from my high school guidance counselor, peers who previously received this scholarship, and my family were also driving forces in my decision to apply.
The NC Teaching Fellows Program changed my life because I entered college with a large support system of educators and future educators. This support was instrumental in my growth as a college student.
During my time as an NC Teaching Fellow at NCCU I had the opportunity to visit Kenya for a study abroad experience at no cost to me. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience where I had the opportunity to become immersed in a different culture while experiencing the life of a Kenyan teacher who I stayed with for a week. This was a truly life-changing experience that has helped shape my views and ideals as an educator.
What have you done since college, and what are you doing now?
After graduating from NCCU I began teaching math at Southern Durham High School (2007-2013). I then obtained my master’s degree in school administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014. Currently I am an assistant principal at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham.
Why have you stayed in (or left) teaching?
I have stayed in education because I have a passion for educating students. The joy I get from making an impact in my students’ lives drives me each day. As a school administrator I have the opportunity to affect students on a larger scale.
What advice do you have for colleges hoping to recruit more people of color and men to study teaching?
The advice that I have for colleges hoping to recruit more people of color and men to enter the teaching profession is to offer incentives. Finances drive decision making in a large segment of minority males. Anything that can relieve a financial burden or lessen the load is helpful.
There are many minority males who discover once they are in college that they have an interest in teaching. I had several friends who fit this criteria. There should be a program to assist students who decide to pursue teaching who are already in college.
In my opinion there should be a way to incentivize and assist these students with earning their teaching certification.
What advice do you have for schools hoping to retain people of color and men as teachers?
This answer is very cliché, but very true. The teacher pay in the state of North Carolina has to increase. The low teacher pay made me contemplate leaving the profession while I was still in the classroom.
Luckily my passion for educating the youth superseded my temporary financial insecurity. I was able to battle through it, but there are, have been and will be many minority males who will make the choice to leave the profession in pursuit of making more money.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The NC Teaching Program needs to make a comeback at full force if we want to increase the quality of beginning teachers in our state. If we truly deem education to be a priority as a state, then we have to make an investment in the young adults who decide to educate our youth.