Extolling Call Me MISTER

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019

We would like to take a moment to highlight and praise Longwood University’s Call Me MISTER (CMM) program, its participants and the powerful and important service provided.

As a recent Longwood press release noted, the CMM program aims to increase the reputation of minority men in Virginia’s teaching force, especially at the elementary and middle-school levels.

Dr. Maurice Carter, the director of the CMM program at Longwood, said in the release, “Call Me MISTER’s founding was rooted in the virtual absence of minority males in the teaching force in the early grades. It is at these grade levels that the importance of male role models is highest, particularly in minority communities.”

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Longwood Associate Dean of the College of Education & Human Services Dr. David Locascio added in the release that “a great deal of research in education points to the powerful role that committed and inspirational teachers play in promoting positive outcomes for the students in their classrooms. The research also supports a greater likelihood of these positive outcomes for minority students when at least some of the committed teachers that they encounter on their educational paths are minority individuals themselves.” 

Parents play a crucial role in the lives of their children, modeling for them how husbands and wives should behave toward each other and others, modeling how parents should treat their children, modeling how employees should approach work, modeling how citizens should behave in their communities, and more. The children are watching, taking cues from all of this, even if some of the things listed above are only subtly expressed in the home.

Parents may be the example in which this “modeling” is most intense for young, impressionable minds that are just beginning to form ideas about people and the world around them, but we recognize how this “modeling” can take place outside the home too, particularly in school. And depending on the situation, teachers can actually be the most impactful role models for young people.

We applaud Carter and the Call Me MISTER program for helping to guide outstanding minority role models into successful careers for the benefit of both them and the students they will teach.

We also laud the participants in the program — who are called Misters on Longwood’s campus — many of whom have become such strong believers in Call Me MISTER’s mission that they have taken great initiative to sustain the program and recruit future Misters.

Officials in the release highlighted that several of the program’s graduates have started Misters-in-Training programs in the middle and high schools where they teach in order to speak about the importance of the program’s mission with young men in their schools. The potential of the program is great, but many of the young men need to be convinced of the viability of careers in education.

“Even when these middle and high school students don’t immediately see themselves as potential teachers,” Carter said in the release, “the importance of the Misters’ mission is easy to discuss with them. So few of them had many meaningful interactions with minority male teachers themselves that they nearly all recognize the potential value of such role models.”   

The Longwood press release highlighted how incoming freshmen this year are joining a corps of committed and charismatic young men in the CMM program.

We are excited that the program is thriving with enthusiastic participants, and we are pleased to call them Mister.