Motivators of African American Secondary Teachers in Public Education: A Qualitative Study

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African American teachers experience obstacles and barriers impacting academic achievement and employment opportunities. The ongoing problem addressed in this study was the low representation of African American teachers in public education compared to increasingly diverse student demographics. Employment metrics from 2017-2018 school year reflected that African American teachers comprised less than 10% of the public education teaching workforce, whereas White teachers comprised nearly 80%. Such disparity may exacerbate racial mismatch between teachers and students. A gap in the literature existed regarding the experiences of African American teachers in public education at the secondary level. The research entailed a qualitative case study using the lens of transformational leadership and racial identity theories to gather information about motivations, workforce obstacles, and influential personal educational experiences. The purpose of the qualitative case study was to identify motivating factors and personal experiences that encourage African American teachers to work in the public education system and obstacles faced while working in public education. Purposive and snowball sampling methods were used to recruit participants. Data were collected through questionnaires and one-on-one interviews from African American secondary teachers. A step-by-step evidence-based model was used, and data were manually analyzed. Research findings included information about participants’ educational experiences, workforce experiences, and challenges. Results highlighted participants’ various experiences leading them to the education workforce, including overcoming obstacles and speaking favorably of people who supported them. Recommendations include topics of future research, examining hiring practices, and assessing students’ education experiences.
Qualitative study with African American teachers working at the secondary level.