Teaching Profession Video

An Asian American Educator Explains Why Teacher Diversity Benefits All Students

By Jaclyn Borowski — September 1, 2021 5:44

“In seeing difference, we realize how similar we are.” Drew Ishii, an Asian American male teacher at the Sage Hill School in Orange County, Calif., consistently finds opportunities to share with his students his life experiences as an Asian American male – from how he grew up, to his love of Beyonce and K dramas. He finds it’s an opportunity for his Asian students to have their experiences validated, and a chance for his white students to realize that his life consists of many experiences – some completely different than theirs, and some quite similar. Asian American men are rare in the K-12 teaching workforce. Amid the increased violence and racist rhetoric against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trauma of the Atlanta shootings at Asian-owned spas, he made space for all of his students to process their feelings – and in doing so was again reminded why it’s so important to have a diverse teacher population.

See Also

Jessica Wong, of Fall River, Mass., front left, Jenny Chiang, of Medford, Mass., center, and Sheila Vo, of Boston, from the state's Asian American Commission, stand together during a protest, Thursday, March 12, 2020, on the steps of the Statehouse in Boston. Asian American leaders in Massachusetts condemned what they say is racism, fear-mongering and misinformation aimed at Asian communities amid the widening coronavirus pandemic that originated in China.
Jessica Wong, of Fall River, Mass., front left, Jenny Chiang, of Medford, Mass., center, and Sheila Vo, of Boston, from the state's Asian American Commission, stand together during a protest, Thursday, March 12, 2020, on the steps of the Statehouse in Boston. Asian American leaders in Massachusetts condemned what they say is racism, fear-mongering and misinformation aimed at Asian communities amid the widening coronavirus pandemic that originated in China.
Steven Senne/AP
Equity & Diversity Opinion Where Did the Term 'Asian American' Come From?
Dina Okamoto, June 3, 2021
5 min read

Jaclyn Borowski is the visuals editor for Education Week leading video and photo initiatives.

Video

English-Language Learners Video Witnessing Change in a 'Little Town for Latinos’: An English Learner’s Journey
Born in Russellville, Ala., to immigrant parents from El Salvador, Brian Santos reflects on his journey as an EL student.
Lauren Santucci & Ileana Najarro
2:48
Brian Santos, a senior at Russellville High School in Russellville, Ala., stands for a portrait at the school Dec. 9, 2022.
Brian Santos, a senior at Russellville High School in Russellville, Ala., stands for a portrait at the school Dec. 9, 2022.
Tamika Moore for Education Week
Teaching Video Teachers, Try This: Build a Lesson Plan Using ChatGPT
One educator explains how teachers can use ChatGPT to create lesson plans, and offers insight and advice on the process and its pitfalls.
3:48
Student Well-Being Video How Districts Can Improve Mental Health Through Building Design
The WELL Building Institute offers ideas for improving student and teacher mental health, including low-cost options like reducing clutter.
4:20
Student Well-Being Video How This School Uses Architecture and Design to Improve Mental Health
John Lewis Elementary School in Washington, D.C., was designed with mental health in mind. It’s become a model for the district.
2:47
JLE Thumbnail 01 BS
Kaylee Domzalski