A major factor that influenced my decision to become an educator was the lack of African American male teachers in the classrooms. It is so important for a positive, male role model to be involved in a child’s life in any facet. I wanted to be able to show children that a black man does not have to play a professional sport to be successful or to have a major impact on this world. I wanted to show them that heroes and role models are teachers and that the most difficult plays happen in the classroom.

I quickly understood that a first impression is a lasting impression for children, so I provide an exciting learning experience for my students each day. I also teach my students to exhibit good character each day and the importance of serving others by getting them involved with community service projects. Giving back to the community is very important to me. I was raised to believe that community service was an important part of learning how to become a responsible, caring, and kind person.

I am very overly enthusiastic about teaching my students the importance of being a kind human being and the importance of being of service to others. That is a major reason why I teach in communities where students’ faces reflect my own. I was once that student sitting in those same classrooms, living in the same community. I wanted to show them a living, walking, and speaking example of what our communities can produce.

Additionally, I understand that in our community there is a shortage of exposure to positive African-American males because many of our students come from single-parent homes. I want to show children that African American men can be heroes in an every-day role, like teaching. They don’t have to be entertainers or athletes to make an impact on the world.

After reaching a certain level of success in my teaching career, other schools have reached out to me asking me to become a part of their school culture. However, my love and skills are needed in the community which I work, because in the 21st century of teaching I have to prepare my students to become leaders that will change the fabric of America.

I also had the opportunity to write my first book titled “Freeze.” In the book, Freeze, the character Swoosh is a 5-year-old student. Swoosh dislikes Wednesdays because they are designated reading days at his school. Swoosh has a hard time sitting and listening to the reader in the class. He becomes tired, disengaged, and uninterested. One day, he had an epiphany and decided to write his own book that allows him and his classmates to move freely during reading time while learning interactively. 

I enjoyed writing a children’s book that showcases my teaching philosophy! A significant person involved with my first book, Freeze, is the illustrator. He is a fifth grade, African American male, named Brian. Brian is the president of a civic organization at his school, The Obama Gentlemen Club. He also designed the club’s logo. It is vital, that men reach back into their communities and give other young, African American males a chance at reaching for the stars. It was my duty and privilege to give Brian the opportunity. Now Brian is a newly published illustrator.

Johnathon Hines is a product of Dekalb County School District. Johnathon spent his entire educational career in Dekalb County as he is a 2006 Towers High School graduate. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Physical Education from Albany State University and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. The opportunity to serve as the first African-American Public School Pre-K Teacher of the Year for the entire State of Georgia and give back to the community that has given so much to him, is profoundly rewarding. He serves as one of two pre-kindergarten teachers at DeKalb County School District’s Barack H. Obama Elementary Magnet School of Technology, the first public school in the Southeast named in honor of our 44th President of the United States of America.


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