Supporting first-generation college students to become teachers in high-needs schools

Marrero et al. / The Teacher Educator / August 2022

Black female K-12 teacher lectures elementary school students

Extensive research exists on students who are the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education, i.e. first-generation college students. But what about first-generation students who pursue careers in education? This study highlights the experiences of first-generation college students, then graduate students, turned teachers and may shed light on how teacher preparation programs could improve persistence among first-generation college and graduate students and support this population as they embark on careers in K-12 settings. First-generation college students who become teachers frequently share demographic characteristics with students in high-need schools, i.e., many are of low socioeconomic status and/or are people of color. Thus, these teachers may help to fill a critical need as they may be more likely to persist as teachers in high-need schools, which are typically hardest to staff and have high turnover.