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Racial Congruence, Teacher Stress, and Professional Commitment among African-American Female Teachers

Black Female Teachers

ISBN: 978-1-78714-462-0, eISBN: 978-1-78714-461-3

Publication date: 11 July 2017


Research funded by the Albert Shanker Institute found African-American teachers leaving teaching at higher rates than White counterparts even though the former are recruited in proportionally higher numbers. Thus, while recruitment efforts appear somewhat successful, schools and school systems fail to retain teachers of color. This “revolving door” of African-American teachers portends dire consequences for school communities, creating instability of staffing that potentially upend students’ opportunities for academic success. African-American female (AAF) teachers, considered a backbone of non-White communities, are particularly sensitive to teacher mobility and turnover. Studies, however, indicate that AAF teachers are more satisfied working in urban school contexts than other teachers, suggesting that they prefer racially congruent schools which share sociocultural attributes similar to their own, and view working conditions more favorably in such environments.

Teachers’ perceptions of the workplace can be used to gauge risk for occupational stress. Commonly referred to as the transactional model, teachers’ risk for stress can be assessed by the appraising workplace resources vis-à-vis workplace demands. Stress-vulnerable teachers are associated with lower professional commitment and increased occupational burnout. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), this chapter explored the intersections of risk for occupational stress, racial congruence, and professional commitment among AAF teachers. Findings from this chapter suggest interactions between racial congruence and AAF teachers’ perceptions of occupational stress and commitment to teaching. Implications for how these results might inform policy are discussed.



Fitchett, P.G., Hopper, E.B., Eyal, M., McCarthy, C.J. and Lambert, R.G. (2017), "Racial Congruence, Teacher Stress, and Professional Commitment among African-American Female Teachers", Black Female Teachers (Advances in Race and Ethnicity in Education, Vol. 6), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 135-158.



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