DonorsChoose, an organization dedicated to combating socioeconomic inequity in school funding, performed the largest-ever study on the Black male teacher experience. The study focuses on why Black male teachers went into the field of education, as well as their experiences in the field.

The Unique Impact, Unique Burdens Insight into the Black Male Educator Experience survey found that student success was directly linked to their access to Black teachers. According to the survey, Black male teachers make up only 2% of public school educators, meaning Black boys are more likely to go through the public education system without ever seeing a teacher who looks and has the same experiences as them.

For any of us who had Black male teachers while in school, the study affirmed what we already know: Black male teachers have a significant impact on Black students.

Black male teachers spend more time mentoring and counseling students outside of the classroom than any other demographic. Black male teachers responded that they spend up to 5.4 hours with students outside of regular class time compared to Latino teachers with 2.7 hours, other male teachers of color with 2.8 hours, and white male teachers with 2.5 hours.

More students socialize in the classrooms of Black male teachers than other male teachers of color and white male teachers, with an average of 10 students. In fact, Black male teachers that are HBCU graduates have an average of 18 students socializing in their classrooms.

The study also took time to study reasons for burnout among Black male teachers. According to the survey, Black male teachers reported that “stresses related to teaching during this heightened racial climate” as a top three reason for burnout.

Schools with high racial tension often have Black teachers that are burdened with extra labor because of their race, which contributes to burnout.

Male teachers of color who agreed that “Racial and ethnic differences between students and teachers create tensions at this school” were more than three times as likely to agree with the statement, “Because of my race, I’m expected to serve as a school liaison to families of color.”

“When a student sees a teacher who looks like them standing at the front of their classroom, it is a powerful, life-changing experience. A diverse workforce of educators supports both the academic and social growth of our students, and educators who are deeply rooted in the communities they serve often go above and beyond to support young people,” said David C. Banks, Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.

The survey found that Black male teachers were more likely to enter the profession to affirm the identities of students of color through a diverse curriculum.

“I believe my race has inspired my teaching because my best teachers were the teachers that looked like me and could relate to me,” reported a Black male civics teacher.