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We Got Next

Urban Education and the Next Generation of Black Teachers


Lynnette Mawhinney

Developing a more culturally diverse teaching force is one of the most important tasks facing the education system in the United States. Yet, in the midst of this challenge, little is known about who these teachers might be or where they might come from. We Got Next: Urban Education and the Next Generation of Black Teachers illustrates the journeys that Black pre-service teachers travel in their attempts to become educators. By looking at their educational life histories – their schooling experiences, teaching philosophies, and personal motivation – this book discovers what compels them to become teachers and the struggles and successes they encounter along the way. With texture and care, We Got Next helps professionals, policymakers, and teacher educators to understand what draws young African Americans toward the teaching profession and how to help them get there.
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Chapter 4. Sophomore Year: Entering Teacher Education

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“Now Dr. Mawhinney…” This was often Dashawn’s indicator that he was about to tell me a story, and it would often have me rolling with laughter at some point. Dashawn was a storyteller and a talker with a sense of humor, a combination that often made for great entertainment in any conversation with Dashawn. The story would then be delivered with his thick Baltimore accent and energetic personality. Thus, it is no surprise that Dashawn was the heart of Carver University. He was involved in many organizations on campus.

I was fortunate enough to have Dashawn in three classes during his tenure at Carver University. He was a dual major in Secondary Education/Mathematics and Computer Science. Dashawn was one of the top students in the Education Department. Unlike other preservice teachers who continually struggled with the basic skills certification exam, Dashawn passed it on the first attempt. In the math portion of the exam, he got only one question wrong. With his passion for math, Dashawn would often tutor his peers for the math section of the basic skills certification exam. As a proud Baltimore County resident, Dashawn was already committed to urban education, as his story starts there.

I have a mother and a father. We’re always together, and I have an older sister. She’s 24; and she just got married; and I have an adopted brother. He’s my cousin, but his parents, unfortunately, passed away before he was legal. My mother was next of...

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