Continuing our exposure of black men with beards in the classroom, we'd like you to meet Jeffrey Clark, Jr. of New Orleans, LA and Adrian Hoquee of Cambridge, MA. It's imperative we not only have the representation of black male educators, but also have men who wholeheartedly believe in their ability to lead knowing that educating our children is their calling. Teaching requires superhero levels understanding, compassion and patience; all qualities both Mr. Clark and Mr. Hoquee exhibit in the classroom daily.
I honestly became a teacher because I love children. I have been working with children since I was 17. I’ve been a camp counselor, baseball/softball coach, tutor and so much more. Also, it’s in my families blood I was born to be and educators and help others.
What helped me remain an educator are the kids I teach everyday. Being from New Orleans and helping my community better themselves through a much needed avenue like education brings joy to my heart everyday. It is important to have black male educators in this world is because the youth today need to see someone that looks just like them.
My decision to become an educator was inspired by a desire to have a greater impact in the development of young people. After graduating college, I worked closely with a college access program and quickly grew tired of playing an ancillary role in the academic and social maturation of my students -- students I genuinely came to love, root, and advocate for in all areas of life. As an underprivileged youth growing up in Toronto and Brooklyn, I was fortunate to have had people who took a vested interest in my development both in and out of classroom; the prospect of playing a similar role in the lives of students of truly inspired me.
While the journey has been anything but easy, I remain an educator today for many of reasons that motivated me nine years to pursue a graduate degree in education. I see (authentic) teaching and learning as a transformative act that has the ability to change the trajectory of students' lives. Despite the current state of affairs in the U.S. public education system, I remain hopeful that we will figure it out -- and begin to prioritize the academic and social development of ALL children.