Black Teacher Project

A woman observing a young boy as he writes on a whiteboard with colorful magnetic letters attached to it.


By Kaloni James

Wow, so it’s a time to be a teacher. It’s also a time to be Black right now. Then it’s especially a time to be a Black teacher.

A lot of us Black teachers go into education with a passion and will so strong – a determination to ensure that the students we serve, Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, don’t encounter the same discrimination and tribulations we had. We want to fight and advocate for them, but sometimes the very discrimination and failure comes from the system that employs us. It’s sometimes our biggest battle, and I know some of you are like “nah fam, it’s the kids” and while yes, I done had some no limit soldiers and kids who I could just “whip they ass,” we can’t fault them for what they aren’t taught, but best believe when you enter my room, I’ma teach you what ya mama and daddy didn’t.

But I say all this to say, Black teachers, we need you. Don’t lose hope in your students, but also don’t lose hope in yourself. Because we all know, we can lose money, we can lose power, but once we lost hope, we lost it all.

And we need to have hope, our Black students need us to have hope.

Hope is what let Mae Jemison walk the moon.

Hope is what made a man in Africa a world leader after 47 years of wrongful imprisonment.

Hope is what told a Black preacher from Alabama that he can dream.

Hope is what’s going to determine the future of these Black students… because we all know they’ve been told “No” too many.

No they can’t graduate.

No they can’t go to college.

No they can’t get a job.

But I think I can speak for everyone when I say, we all beat some type of odds & I just want to encourage you to help the future of our community to beat them too.

About the author: Kaloni James is a 4th year 5th Grade English Language Arts teacher at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana