Winning pre-k teacher of the year was an amazing achievement for teacher Johnathon Hines, but it was even more special for the young teacher as he was the first black man to win the award.
The young man revealed to CNN that winning Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teacher of the Year award for public schools is “one of the greatest milestones of his life” and hopes that his achievement of being the first black male pre-K teacher of the year inspires other men to get inside the classroom and make a difference and not just leave it to coaches.
Johnathon teaches a pre-k class at Barack Obama Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia, and wants his pupils’ first experience of the classroom to be a fun one. His goal is to inspire the children and thinks of his pupils as his own kids. His stellar teaching methods have earned him recognition as not only Georgia’s Pre-K Teacher of the Year but the first black man to earn the title.
“Now I have the opportunity to inspire other males in early childhood. And that’s definitely one of my biggest goals,” he told KHOU11 News. “I know how hard it is to be a teacher. The love and passion that you have to have to come in the classroom every single day. It’s definitely a calling, and that is my calling.”
Before becoming a pre-k teacher, Johnathon was a college basketball player who played overseas. He came into the country wanting to coach high school or middle school basketball. To get into the school system Johnathon took a job as a pre-K paraprofessional where he ended up falling in love with the impact a teacher can make during a child’s first year of school.
2 years later, he shocked his principal when he turned down a health and PE coach position to stay teaching the 4 year old kids. “Pre-k is the most important grade to teach. There are no preconceived notions about school … they are just curious about the world. I have the opportunity to make their first impression of school a lasting impression and instill a love for learning and a positive attitude.” he said.
Johnathon works hard to create a fun environment to ensure his pupils develop a love of learning and won’t be bored. “Cause I feel like when a child is engaged, the more they will learn. Pre-K is the first year a child will experience school, so I want their first encounter to be a loving, nurturing encounter. And also allow them to have fun and still be a 4-year-old.” He said.
Johnathon revealed that watching the children change and develop over the year is one of his favorite things. “What I love most about my job is seeing the growth in my children. Sometimes students come in being only able to recognize a few letters. But by May they are able to write their first and last names, read a short story. But even grow as a person. They develop self-confidence. They develop social and emotional skills. The growth is really important in pre-K.” He further added.
Jonathan hopes his well-earned accolade will inspire other men to teach. “I have the opportunity to inspire other males to get inside of the classroom. It speaks volumes because there’s so many teachers in the state of Georgia and to be the number one pre-K teacher means a lot.” he said.
Many congrats to you teacher Johnathon Hines, your students are lucky to have you!
Remember to share to celebrate Johnathon’s success and pay tribute to all the teachers who have committed their lives to nurture and inspire.