There are many reasons why I love teaching. The number one reason I love teaching is that it’s one of my gifts. Each day, I get to practice getting better at my gift teaching at 7 Pillars Career Academy. Reflecting on teaching takes me to the powerful way Whitney Houston sang the words, “I believe the children are our future!” With 16 years as an educator, I still use this song as a motivator to do my best. Seeing my mother’s life work as a teacher in Dekalb County set a blueprint for what the life of a game-changer looks like. The many great teachers I experienced during my matriculation through Atlanta Public Schools helped nurture the gift of teaching. It was my gift of leadership at a young age, leading my peers through the Student Government Association elementary school – college, that helped uncover my gift of teaching.
I loved sports too, but I’d rather pick up a pencil than a basketball.
My love for teaching is attributed to the influence of two Black men who I call my greatest inspiration for teaching. My first Black male teachers, Mr. Gordon and F. L. Stanton E.S. in Atlanta and my father. They taught me invaluable life lessons that I not only use to this day but incorporate in my teaching methods. One lesson is knowing the history and applying it. I didn’t realize the impact of having Black men as teachers then, but I do now. I’m able to incorporate Black history, Atlanta’s history, and world history into my lessons. It’s a skill that has helped me connect people. One of my top goals as a teacher is to change the negative perceptions of Black males. Black boys rank highest in deficient areas of academics, behavior, discipline, and attendance in schools. By incorporating Black history into my lessons, I can show Black excellence as the norm.
I know my impact on Black boys is positive. I can tell in their performance in my classes and feedback from their families.
Each day, I’m able to change the narrative of how Black boys, who will grow into productive citizens like myself, are accepted, treated, and depicted in the world. Being Black teacher isn’t enough, nor is having a good heart. I love teaching because I get to improve the injustices and ugliness that Black boys will see in society. Every day, I prepare lessons that connect my classroom experience to real-life opportunities for my students.
As a Black male teacher, I don’t just get to talk about it; I have to be about it. My love for teaching allows me to change the inequity Black boys face in public schools. Teaching is not just a job for me. I see it as an opportunity to teach, lead, develop, impact, and empower all at once. Black boys, too often, don’t have a teacher standing in front of them who looks just like them. So, teaching is my superpower, and I get to be a superhero for students too often left behind.
Being a Black male teacher allows me to educate the minds of our next global leaders while impacting their families and communities.
For us to decrease the horrible experiences many parents shared with me such as being overlooked and told they won’t amount to anything, I know we need more teachers like me. We need teachers who are so compelled by the painful stories of the parents and children they serve to turn education outcomes around. I love teaching despite all the bad press teachers in public schools have received; I’m the teacher that inspires and impacts children positively. This motivates me to teach in and out of the classroom in order to dismantle systematic racism that detours children of color from finding success.
Profound Gentlemen highlights the fact that while Black male teachers are changing public education for children of color, “We still are only 2% of the population of educators!”
Being a Black male teacher is one of the most rewarding parts of my life. My greatest inspiration as to why I love teaching is the growth and change I see in my scholars. I know that the work I am doing daily is impacting the lives of children who most likely have been left behind in public schools. Teaching is one of my life’s passions.
I love teaching because I want to continue seeing children who look like me succeed in school. I can do more than just teach! I can help build a better future by shaping the minds of our next global leaders.
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.