Little is known about how novice teachers construct and interpret classroom management moments—instances when they perceive their ability to maintain order and promote sanctioned behavior is tested—in a way that contributes to or challenges racial bias. Using data from a hybrid, online/in-person professional development course for beginning teachers, I find two patterns of connecting race and classroom management. Teachers in this study tended to share stories either about “managing race”—narratives about deescalating racial tension or reproaching transgressors of racial colorblindness—or “race-ing management”—stories that read race into incidents in such a way as to reveal latent racial dynamics. Further, these patterns aligned with teachers’ self-identified racial backgrounds, with teachers who expressed a strong minority racial identity tending to focus on race-ing management, and those who expressed a more tenuous racial identity or who described themselves as White, tending to focus on managing race. This research can inform efforts to restore racial proportionality and justice in student discipline, to retain an experienced teacher workforce in under-resourced schools, and to support school administrators’ reflective inquiry when called to interpret management decisions made by classroom teachers in taking larger disciplinary action.
Deckman, S. L. (2017). Managing race and race-ing management: Teachers’ stories of race and classroom conflict. Teachers College Record, 119 (110306), 1-40.