Â"ItÂ's incomprehensible to stand idly by and do absolutely nothing,Â" says Anderson. Â"So all our endeavors, all our initiatives are from the heart.Â"
Anderson is one of 29 students halfway through a pilot program designed to get more African-American men into teaching.
Â"We consider ourselves the commandos of education,Â" says Anderson.
In a city thatÂ's 80 percent black, fewer than 10 percent of DetroitÂ's teachers are African American men. The national numbers are worse: only 2 out of every 100 teachers are black men.
The program here at Marygrove College is called Griot. It comes from a West African word for storyteller. The pupils spend 18 months earning a teaching certificate. When they graduate, theyÂ're guaranteed a job in a Detroit school.
Phillip WashingtonÂ's paycheck will be cut almost in half when he leaves his job as a manager for the phone company.
Â"IÂ'll be able to say for the second half of my life Â… I can have something that I can be very proud of one my epitaph,Â" he says.
The goal is to provide lessons with examples Â– and understanding.
Â"They need to have role models of our caliber address their concerns because we came from exactly where theyÂ've come from,Â" says Griot student Bob Thomas.
Dr. Ella Burton, an instructor at Marygrove College, reminds the men, Â"When you are in your classroom, remember 42 percent of the population in front of you will be disadvantaged in some way.Â"
The men have become so close they finish each otherÂ's sentences. All say they heard the classroom calling.
Â"They are just a unique group of men,Â" says Burton. Â"They are passionate in and of themselves; in their own personal lives they are passionate.Â"
The members of this first class see themselves as pioneers, leading the way for the others who want to follow in their footsteps.