Daily Southtown Profiles New Scholar
By Rob Schroeder
April 25, 2018
In the fall of 2017, the College of Education joined the nationwide Call Me Mister program, seeking to recruit males of color to the teaching profession. The first cohort of future teachers, starting their studies in the fall of 2018, will include Juan Hernandez, a graduating senior at Oak Lawn Community High School. Hernandez originally hoped to pursue a career as an attorney but now believes a path to the teaching profession will foster his passion to impact children's lives. The Daily Southtown profiled Hernandez as an inaugural member of UIC's Call Me Mister cohort:
"...I kind of realized my motivation for becoming an attorney was that I wanted to help youth attain where they wanted to be in life, said Juan, who wrote a passionate personal statement as part of his application. “As an educator, I’d be more involved in the students’ lives, not only their subject matter in school, but also as a role model they could look up to.”
That fit right in with the goals of the university’s Call me Mister program, which stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. The seven incoming students in the program, including Juan, will take elementary education courses together, live in the same dorm and meet for future discussions about their future careers and pupils.
They also will be part of network of students who are part of the program in nine schools nationwide and will attend a summer leadership conference at Clemson University in South Carolina, which started the program in 2000.
“Research is very clear that students of color, particularly African-American and Latino children, benefit when they have teachers who have similar experiences, who like them, share the same cultural identity,” said Alfred Tatum, dean of UIC’s College of Education. “What we’re trying to do is increase that pipeline of men who will effectively serve as extraordinary teachers but the additional benefit is they serve as role models who are positively impacting the lives of children.”