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‘Call Me Mister’ program at USC Aiken bringing diversity to the classroom

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Call Me Mister. It’s a program we’ve been telling you about at the University of South Carolina Aiken helping get more male minority teachers in the classroom. We had a chance to check out one of their meetings and talk to students about why they joined the group.

“I want to be a middle school math teacher so I can be an inspiration to the kids just like some of the teachers were inspirations to me, some of the male teachers I had,” said Melvin Archie Jr.

Archie is a sophomore at USC Aiken and has been a part of the Call Me Mister program for two years. He says he wants to make an impact on his future students’ lives.

“Just for the young African American boys to see like that it’s someone that looks like me, they’ve been in my shoes. If they can do I know I can do it,” he said.

Program coordinator, Rashad Paige says male minority teachers are underrepresented in the classroom. He says he can attest to statistics that show having a minority teacher can increase a student’s chance of graduating or even attending college.

“I didn’t really believe myself that I could go to college until I had a year of a minority male teacher in my fifth-grade classroom. It gave me a vision, it gave me inspiration, it motivated me to go on and pursue education at the college level and become a teacher myself,” he said.

He says each week they discuss various topics that can be used in and outside of the classroom.

“On a personal level, we talk about what does it feel like to be a black male in the classroom, what are some goals you want to reach with your students. On a professional level we talk about what are some things that are happening in education,” he said.

Melvin says this program has allowed him to meet misters from other universities as well as getting to work in the classroom with students.

“A lot of those kids have never had male teachers, in third grade never had male teachers, and I could relate to a lot of them,” he said.

He says when he graduates he wants to go back home to Hopkins, South Carolina.

“I want to go back to my community and just be the one everyone looks up to, teaching my fellow peers children. I just want to help my community out,” he said.

Call Me Mister originally started on Clemson’s campus back in 2000 and has since expanded out to other universities. If you want to learn more about USC Aiken’s program visit: https://www.usca.edu/education/soe-opportunities/call-me-mister.

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