Children in America spend on average 1000 hours in school every year.  School is the second environment after home that influences students’ character and how they view the world. Teachers are an integral part of this growth, and educators who go above and beyond to show their students they’re loved, respected, and valuable is vital. 

Below are some teachers that have gone above and beyond to share their love and light with their students.

Callie Evans and Audri Williams

(Source: Parents)

Monroe Comprehensive High School Teachers Callie Evans and Audri Williams hyped their students up with a viral rap about going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these unprecedented times, students had to stay at home and virtually learn. The Rap was a remix of Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin,” where they encouraged students about virtual learning and the pandemic and reminded them to wear their masks, stay safe, and excel even when they’re stressed. 

The teachers said they hope the video will encourage other students and teachers to find fun ways to make virtual learning fun. Click here to watch the video of these Georgia teachers creatively shining light amid the darkness.

Brandy Hurtado

(Source: GMA)

Brandy Hurtado is a teacher at Gray Elementary School in Texas who missed her students after schools shut down due to COVID-19. In the shutdown, she wanted her students to know how much she cared for them in a time of high anxiety and stress. In the beginning, she would have daily virtual check-ins with her students, reaffirming her support by helping them with their homework. 

Brandy told Goodmorning America, "Any questions that they have or just random [things] they wanted to tell me. One of the core values at [Gray Elementary School] is students first, and that relationship with them means everything.” One of her students asked if she would visit him, and that sparked the idea of a surprise drive-by pop-up on all her students as she had a sign saying “I miss you.” She spoke with all students and parents as students expressed how she brightens their day.

Professor Nathan Alexander

(Source: Healthy Happy News)

Professor Nathan Alexander at Morehouse College had compassion for his student and his story as he offered to old his 5-month-year-old daughter so he could take adequate notes. Midterms were around the corner as student Wanye Hayer did not want to miss algebra class. Wayne had a conflict as he did not have anybody to watch his daughter while he attended class. When Wayne told Professor Nathan, he offered to hold her during class so Wayne could focus on the content.

The President of Morehouse College, David Thomas, tweeted “This is about #love and #commitment. Loving our students and being committed to removing any barrier to their pursuit of excellence”. Professor Nathan told CNN, “part of my role and goal as educator is to provide opportunities for students. We work to build a community in class.” The love in the community was shown as everybody supported Wayne in his time of need. 

Mackenzie Adams

(Source: The Today Show)

Mackenzie Adams is a kindergarten teacher whose excitement and joy captured the attention of her students. Mackenzie posted a Tik Tok video of her engaging with her students, getting them excited to participate in virtual learning. Mackenzie explained how she keeps her energy up, stating "I feed right off of them. Seeing their smiles and their laughter, it makes me just want to put more of a show on for them, make sure that they're having fun and that they're engaging and learning,"

She also shared the secret for her energy is in her arm movements and facial expressions. Mackenzie’s liveliness, enthusiasm, and love for her students radiated through her TikTok video as she has got thousands of likes.

Leigh Bishop

(Source: BuzzFeed)

Leigh Bishop is a pre-K teacher at Lakeview Elementary School. Leigh told her student, August, that she loved her hair and she shouldn’t be surprised if she showed up with the same style the next day. August rolled her eyes and shrugged off the compliment until the next day. She and her father’s jaws dropped as she saw Leigh with the same hairstyle

Representation matters, and Leigh wearing the same hairstyle as August showed August just how beautiful she and her hair is. Leigh stated, "With my student's hair being similar to mine, I thought what better way to show her how she inspired me to feel beautiful with that same braided updo hairstyle!" Teachers like Leigh affirm the beauty of black girls and their hair. Beautifully represented, Leigh was one of the many teachers showing their students how seen they are. 

David Jamison

(Source: Good Grit Magazine)

David Jamison is a fifth-grade teacher in Memphis, Tennessee, who personally has a handshake with all of his students, making them feel loved and seen. David has 75 students, and each of them has a personalized handshake that is elaborate and fun. David explained that “the greetings made each student feel special and got them excited to learn.”

David expressed how he felt counted out when he was a student, but now he is in a position to be counted on. He is very passionate about his job and reiterates how important it is to build relationships, hence the handshakes. The foundation of his lesson plans is love and human interaction. “Feeling loved and like you belong is a basic need of everyone, and I make sure that’s part of my classroom every day,”

For these teachers, the love and light are beyond the curriculum. They all care about their students helping them be the best. Zoe shares the same light and love with her curlfriends and is excited to see that they have educators doing the same. We appreciate teachers who go above and beyond their role to take care of your little ones, forming the next generation of change-makers. 

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