“For children in poverty, success in school is a matter of life and death, and they need mature teachers who have a great deal of knowledge about their subject matter, but who can also relate to them.”, Dr. Martin Haberman, 2004
Above all, a teacher must be able to relate to kids. A lot of teachers in Brussels, have little experience with growing up in a metropolitan context. Therefore, it requires a lot of additional effort from the teachers to get to “know” the children so that they can make a real connection. Fortunately, we have a lot of good teachers in the Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels. But unfortunately, not enough and often they do not stay in Brussels for long.
Dr. Martin Haberman has done a lot of research about successful teachers in difficult metropolitan schools. He came to the conclusion that teachers who become effective and remain in these schools tend to have many of the following characteristics:
- live in or were raised in a metropolitan area.
- attended schools in a metropolitan area as a child or youth.
- are parents or have had life experiences which involved extensive relationships with children.
- are members of a minority group or from a working class family.
- have had extensive and varied work experiences before seeking to become teachers.
- have experienced a period of living in poverty or have the capacity to empathize with the challenges of living in poverty.
- have had out-of-school experiences with children of diverse backgrounds.
- have engaged in paid or volunteer activities with diverse children in poverty.
We should focus on attracting and recruiting teachers with these characteristics!
Read more: Haberman Foundation. (Selecting and Preparing Urban Teachers).