Local News

Travis Blackwell: 2002 NC Teaching Fellow

Posted January 25, 2019 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2019 6:48 a.m. EST

This interview was conducted by email as part of a series on teacher diversity in North Carolina.

What years were you a Teaching Fellow, and what college did you attend?

I was a teaching fellow from 2002 to 2006 at North Carolina State University.

Why did you apply to be a Teaching Fellow, and how did the program affect your life?

Well the first obvious reason is I needed the money, but I was greatly impacted by the teachers I had in high school and wanted to continue their legacy as a teacher myself. The program provided a lot of opportunities to collaborate with people with the same passion and explore innovative ways to work in the classroom.

What have you done since college, and what are you doing now?

I immediately started teaching after graduation and I am currently teaching high school math.

Why have you stayed in (or left) teaching?

Even though it has had some challenges, I still find the effect that I have on my students the most rewarding to stay in classroom. It feels great to see one of former students out and about, and they can still tell me what they loved about my class.

What advice do you have for colleges hoping to recruit more people of color and men to study teaching?

I believe that having the presence of a minority male teacher in the classroom will inspire other students of all ethnic backgrounds to consider teaching as a profession. It is not commonly seen for male teachers to teach core classes, such as math and science.

Having a male presence in the classroom does send a positive signal to young men that they too can be successful in any area of study that they choose. I believe that seeing the trend of minority male teachers entering the field increase would create more diversity in the education field not just in the classroom.

What advice do you have for schools hoping to retain people of color and men as teachers?

I advise schools to show support to all teachers regardless of ethnic background or gender. It speaks volume to the community, when they see administration supporting and enforcing what the teachers are trying to get accomplished.