Teachers are truly drawn to the art of teaching for many different reasons. This is especially true for our teachers at KIPP Polaris Academy for Boys, KIPP’s first single-gender school. Tinnae Hamilton, Xavier Beckwith, and Jametrius Boone share with us why they teach at an all-boys school.
Although challenged by the surplus of energy and the lack of role models in these boys lives, these three teachers love filling the gap and becoming a role model each and every day.
“I know I am making an impact every single day,” Xavier said. “I’m not saying that in some colloquial way. Teaching at Polaris is very different because it is a different kind of impact. I have the opportunity to change a boy’s life every single day and that’s something that’s not in the job description.”
Jametrius, who began teaching in 2002, sees himself in his students and desires for them to be inspired and motivated daily.
“It is hard to make them believe in themselves. Getting them to believe is a tough sell to kids who come home and their lights are off.”
But these teachers are doing it. These KIPPsters believe in themselves.
Xavier’s favorite times teaching is when he sees his students responding to their growth in performance. His students had a 98% passing rate on the last Eureka math test and their first question after hearing their results was, “How did KIPP 3D do?” His students are engaged and competitive.
Tinnae is thankful for the many men on the admin team at Polaris.
“There is a certain respect brought out in these boys because of the male leadership. I love seeing that.”
But just as important for these boys to have male role models, Tinnae knows she has a major role to play in providing a strong female role model in these boys’ lives.
“It is important my students see females in a positive, professional light. They listen to a lot of rap music that doesn’t always represent women well. I want them to aspire to treat women well and with respect every day.”
Although these teachers deal with many difficult situations daily, they have more fun than you can imagine. Teaching at an all-boys school provides moments of laughter throughout the day.
“I had a student come up to me in a panic during class,” Xavier explained. “He was scratching at his face and told me that something didn’t feel right. He was freaking out about his face so I looked closely and realized he was growing his first facial hair. He then went around and started showing other students his hair bump. I couldn’t help but laugh at that situation.”
These teachers are making a real difference every day and that’s why they teach. Why do you teach?