Georgia College’s College of Education has launched a new program that aims to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader, more diverse background. The Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) program at Georgia College is the first of its kind in the state.
The program’s launch is the result of years of preparation and hard work from various faculty and staff members throughout the College of Education and the university at-large.
“Education is perhaps the most powerful and transformative tool that we have at our disposal,” said Emmanuel Little, program director. “I can still remember the impact that certain teachers had not only upon my retention of the subject matter being taught, but also on my entire worldview. Unfortunately, there are very few instances where I had an instructor who resembled me. The goal of Call Me MISTER is to change that.”
In the Call Me MISTER program, student participants are largely selected from among under-represented populations, with a targeted focus on African-American males. Program benefits include financial assistance, residential living environments, mentorship through peer cohort programs and an intensive learning and hands-on training to become transformative educators.
Little is currently recruiting the first cohort of students in the program at Georgia College for fall 2015.
“Given that African-American males account for only 2 percent of teachers nationwide, the mission of Call Me MISTER is imperative toward pushing a paradigm shift in how we see educators, the subjects they teach and most importantly, the children being taught,” said Little. “I fully expect Georgia College’s Call Me MISTER program to produce talented teachers who will become leaders for transformational change throughout school systems in the state of Georgia.”
Senior Brandon Crockett is set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in middle grades education this spring.
His draw to education came from his deep desire to help people through problem-solving as well as life decisions.
“As an African-American male, I can see the positive impact I can have on students in the classroom,” said Crockett. “We have an opportunity to show students, especially young African-American students that they can have role models other than entertainers or athletes, and by being a role model for them, they can understand the importance of getting an education.”
The Wilkinson County native is currently student teaching at the middle school he attended years ago. Crockett encourages African-American men to step into the important role of teaching.
“Teaching is a great opportunity to uplift and instruct students,” said Crockett. “You can see the progress they make and help them understanding the value of education. Teaching is a tremendous opportunity that I am proud to have.”
Call Me MISTER was founded at Clemson University in 2000. The program serves students at 18 participating colleges in South Carolina and eight national partner institutions, including Georgia College.