Well, this was cool and unexpected. A mentee of mine read my recent blog post about my former student Maleek, and was actually moved to submit the letter below about the impact I made on him and other students when I worked at their school. I don’t know if what I did was so special, but I think it really speaks to the importance of representation and having a variety of Black male role models in every school.
Dear Dean Allen,
I recently read one of your articles, Dear Maleek on the EdLanta blog (the reference to Trump was pretty cool by the way). I wanted you to know that you were Superman for many of us at the school.
As our Superman, you showed us how Black male educators can inspire, teach, mentor and support us in being well rounded, successful boys becoming men.
After talking to my mom about it, I decided to write to you regarding the impact you’ve had on me while at the school.
The days after your departure felt like the day our Superman went away.
Walking to your by your office is like a nightmare now. Literally, for me it feels exactly like the end of Superman vs. Batman or like Avengers Infinity War.
All I could think of the first couple of days was why would he leave us? Then the students would ask, what about the pep talks, mentoring group, life lessons, music during the mornings and lunch. Of course you’ can’t forget the food, you always had food for us to eat.
Being in the 8th grade taking three (3) high school classes while playing football as the defensive and offensive lineman is hard.
At first it felt impossible handling all of this after you left because I felt like I had no guidance.
I realized that I have to reflect back on what I learned from you about how to manage my anger in difficult situations.
It was easier to manage because you always had a solution to things and great stories with wisdom that always challenged me.
One lesson you taught us is not stop working hard after you reach one goal.
You would tell us to write our vision, be specific and make it happen.
A strong, Black male educator will understand better than anyone else the struggles Black boys face.
You weren’t afraid to share experiences of being racially profiled, judged and hurt by others because of his skin color. You taught us to not only be good at sports but academics as well.
In our BMWI (Black Males with Initiative) mentoring program, you took the time to show us how to handle stress, conflicts and real life situations. We learned the importance of respecting ourselves, women and our elders from you. The service projects taught us that accountability begins within us.
The impact you had on me and my friends is something that has changed our lives forever. Every Black boy should experience having a Superman like you.
8th Grade Scholar
East Point, Georgia
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.