Interview with Dolores Torres
QUESTION 11
INTERVIEWER:

Can you talk about the process of how you interviewed teachers, what new teachers that came, what were the questions you would ask.

DOLORES TORRES:

Well first of all we wanted to know, ah, where they came from.

INTERVIEWER:

In interviewing new teachers, OK--

DOLORES TORRES:

OK.

INTERVIEWER:

--could you talk about the process of interviewing new teachers.

DOLORES TORRES:

Well, when we were interviewing these teachers that wanted to come in to teach in our district. We wanted to know where they came from, ah, we asked them all for qualifications, we asked them how did they feel about teaching in a school were the majority of the children were not White. What did they feel about coming to work in a neighborhood that was predominantly Black and Hispanic? Did they feel that our children could learn as well as anybody else's children, in say a White neighborhood, an affluent neighborhood? We wanted to know, did they have, did they feel, especially that if a child wasn't able to learn a subject one way, could this teacher, would she be willing to teach it an al--alternative? If a child could not, ah, say grasp math, in the way it's supposed to be taught, could she find another way to teach this child? We also wanted to know about writing, we wanted to know did this particular teacher, would she give the children a lot of work that consisted of writing. Because our children, at the time, where not writing well, they were not reading well. And in order to do math, they would have to know how to read and write, so we would have to take and have reading in a math class. And a lot of the teachers were agreeable, they felt that if you couldn't teach a child one way, then try something else, but that all children could be taught.

INTERVIEWER:

Stop camera.



INTERVIEWER:

OK, could you describe the process of hiring those teachers that wanted to come into Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and ma--make sure you say, "teachers who wanted to come to Ocean Hill-Brownsville."

DOLORES TORRES:

All right, the teachers that wanted to come and teach in our schools had to be interviewed. And the parents, the parent representatives and the community representatives of the local school board, which was us, had to interview them. We asked them many questions, how did they feel about coming into a Black neighborhood, Black and Hispanic neighborhood. How did they feel like, how they felt about teaching in classrooms that were predominantly Black and Hispanic. Had they ever taught in such an environment before? Were they afraid to come into the neighborhood? If they had a chance would they care to live in the neighborhood? We really asked them some, maybe sounds like outrageous questions, but this is the way we got a concept of how these people would feel teaching in our schools. We also asked them, if they felt the child was having a problem being taught one way, were they willing to teach the child another way? Did they feel that our children could be taught? It was just, it was questions along that line, we also wanted to know where they had taught before, why did they leave, what new ways of teaching could they think of to bring into the schools, and our particular school district.