A Reflection by Matthew Simmons, School Counselor at St. Therese Catholic Academy.

February 27, 2023

What does it mean to you to be a Black educator? 

Being a black educator is important to me. I know that there has been a decline of black educators in our school systems. I believe that students benefit from black teachers and educators by preparing them to succeed in a diverse society. 

Why do you think it is important for your students to see you in this role? 

We need more black men working in the school systems. This affects young black men at our schools the most. Most of them are used to seeing successful black men in the media, sports or television. American society usually celebrates black men based on our physical talents when in reality we should be recognized and honored for doing more in this country. When black boys see me as their school counselor, it’s proof that they can make a change and be successful in other careers besides sports and media. 

What do you think is most challenging? 

The most challenging part of my job is taking the kid’s problems and issues back home with me. Just like any loving educator, we pour our hearts and souls out for these kids. We want the best for them and we have to remember that we have to trust God to be with them and their families when they are going through difficult times. We have to understand that we cannot fix everything, but we can do our best and give our best efforts. 

What does Black History Month mean to you? Why is it important that schools teach Black history? 

I always tell our students that Black history is American history. We have had black people fight for our freedom and rights for 400 years. We are still fighting for our equality, but we have come a long way. We need to make sure that our students know and are educated on what black people have done to change America and world history.

This reflection is part of Fulcrum’s celebration of Black History Month 2023.