Returning back to the classroom this year has reminded me of a teacher’s journey.
Recently one of my 6th grade students wrote this narrative that changed my mind about regretting going back to teach.
His story reminded me of why I came back to the classroom.
I admire the bravery of one of my Black boys who recently shared a powerful narrative in class.
I’m my brother’s hero.
When we were younger, I protected him.
We had a very hard life.
Especially when dad left and then mom.
Growing up it only got worst.
Often times we water down the impact trauma has on Black boys.
They come to school angry at parents, society and schools that too often fail them.
Turning this behavior around is challenging and sometimes makes teachers feel hopeless.
It’s not easy for teachers to do, especially when we aren’t supported.
The lack of support for teachers and our work to save Black boys forces many to leave the classroom.
I Almost Quit, but My Student Changed My Mind!
Sometimes, it’s not the success of our students, but their struggles that motivate us to take mantle and teach!
My student’s narrative reminded me that as a teacher, I give many students an option to win.
With only 2% of teachers being Black men in America, we must not succomb to the barriers teachers face daily.
Returning to the classroom showed me that our Black boys can overcome when they’re provided tools of success.
The struggle to survive off a teacher’s salary, the lack of support by instructional leaders and the constant degrading of the profession by big businesses wasn’t enough to make me quite.
The words of my student reminded me of the greater purpose I serve as Black male educator.
After our parents abandoned us,
my little brother made me promise in the cold that I’d never leave him.
I came to school for three years and never felt important.
I never had a chance to share my story and who I am.
Now I do.
Teachers give students the opportunity to have a voice,
in hopes that one day they’ll free others do to the same!
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.