Human rights icon, Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It not only has the ability to help students challenge the status quo but it can open doors of endless opportunity. However, it all starts with a teacher who is willing to go the extra mile. Watch how these five young Black educators use their platform to inspire the next generation.
1. Dwayne Reed- a first time Chicago teacher who opted to do an inspirational back-to-school-rap to kick off the new school year.
“What I would want to come across is that the person that is going to be leading you this semester is so pumped about serving you. We can have fun and we can joke and we can be hardworking as well.”
2. Barry White Jr. – a 5th grade English teacher at Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, who performs a personalized handshake before his students enter the classroom.
“I want this to be their sanctuary. I want them to be excited to come to school because before I’m able to deliver a substantial amount of content to them, they have to buy into me. They have to invest in the teacher itself.”
3. Jasmyn Wright- a third grade teacher in Philadelphia who created affirmations for her students to recite after the election in November.
“With the election that went on, they were more troubled and they were upset. (So I thought,) yes, this is true, this has happened, but that doesn’t stop us from pushing through. We still have a calling, we still have a purpose, we still are made to leave an imprint in the world, and we cannot give up because of whatever happened.”
4. Michael Bonner- a second grade teacher in North Carolina who promised his students that if they passed their reading test that the class could make a music video about what they learned. The students went on to pass their test and Bonner delivered on his promise.
5. Valencia Clay- a teacher at Southwest Baltimore Charter School who told her class to give their classmate 10 seconds of compliments after the young lady expressed her struggle with low self-esteem.
“Like, (giving compliments) really does work and we have to uplift each other. It was powerful.”