Navigating Identity and Persistence Through Mentoring: The Lived Experiences of Black Male Teachers in Predominantly White Schools




Jack, Travis J.

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This phenomenological study was designed to explore the lived experiences of 11 Black male teachers in predominantly White K–12 public schools. Specifically, the goal was to capture the thoughts and experiences the 11 Black male participants held on racial identity development and persistence as a teacher, and the influence mentoring had on their development. The design of this study included data collection through multiple sources, including demographic surveys, informed consent, artifacts, and semi-structured interviews. The data collected for this study were analyzed via a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, which involves six activities for examining transcripts and responses (van Manen, 1990). The primary research question guiding this study was: What are the lived experiences of Black male teachers who have engaged in teacher mentoring programs at White K–12 schools? The primary research question and the secondary research questions of this study were undergirded by a theoretical framework consisting of both nigrescence theory (W. E. Cross, 1971) and mentoring theory (Kram, 1985). Four themes emerged from the data and represented the lived experiences of the 11 participants. The findings emphasize how Black male teachers navigate predominantly White K–12 spaces, their peers, and the students they teach. Additionally, each participant highlighted their awareness of their racial identity and the influence it had on the mentoring they received. The findings of this study add to the existing body of knowledge on teacher mentoring programs and the success of Black male teachers by providing a view from a different setting (predominantly White schools). Implications for practice include implementing teacher mentoring networks/webs for Black male teachers and creating Black male teacher affinity groups. Future research should explore the experiences of Black male teachers in predominantly White K–12 schools in other regions of the United States.



Black male teachers, predominantly white K-12 schools, teacher retention, teacher mentoring, racial identity, teacher persistence, phenomenology


Jack, T. J. (2022). Navigating identity and persistence through mentoring: The lived experiences of Black male teachers in predominantly White schools (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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