Ad Campaign Seeks More City Teachers
Non-profit City Forward Collective cites teacher shortage in Milwaukee, seeks candidates of color.
On Tuesday City Forward Collective launched a new initiative called Why They Teach. The recruitment campaign will target aspiring teachers with billboards, bus shelter posters and social media ads to help Milwaukee address teacher shortages, especially a shortage of teachers of color. The website for this initiative shares stories from seven different Milwaukee teachers and offers to connect potential recruits to education and job opportunities.
“In Milwaukee, our Black students are more likely than anywhere else in the state to be taught by an inexperienced, out-of-licensure or substitute teachers due to vacancies in hard-to-fill positions like math, science, special education and bilingual education.” said Yaribel Rodriguez, director of teacher talent at City Forward Collective. The nonprofit aims to increase access to high quality schools to local children and eliminate any inequities in the way.
Gary Mueller, founder of Serve Marketing, calls the campaign a “labor of love.” The Why They Teach website shares testimonial videos of teachers telling their stories, stories which he says no one else is telling.
“Great teachers are so important,” said Mueller. “You can fill the pipeline with people. But having teachers that are passionate, or people who feel like they have a calling, that’s why we’re doing this campaign. We want people who believe in their calling.”
Darnell Hamilton, a special education teacher at Golda Meir High School, is one of the teachers that shares their story on the website. Hamilton has taught for eight years and he says that public education drives him to provide the kind of help he got growing up for the students he teaches. “It’s knowing more than you’re just serving a classroom role. You’re serving a life model role,” he said.
Having more Black and brown teachers in classrooms will affect Milwaukee’s students both in the present, as they study and learn, and in the long run when they graduate and consider enrolling in college. Andrea McAlister, a Golda Meir senior, said that working with Black teachers like Hamilton inspires her to work harder.
“With COVID, it’s easy to give up and not want to do anything,” said McAlister, “When I have teachers like Mr. Hamilton that I can have a conversation with every day, he inspires me to keep going.”