I never wanted to be a teacher. But, I have always been passionate about helping people, especially through mentorship. While I was a student at Texas Christian University, I had the privilege of playing for Coach Gary Patterson and being a part of the team that won the 2011 Rose Bowl for the second undefeated season in our school’s history. I was honored as an All American Safety and as a top three finalist for the Thrope Award.
After the 2010 season, I had a solid shot at the NFL draft. A spot on a team wasn’t guaranteed, but going through the draft potentially meant never finishing my degree.
That wasn’t something I wanted to risk—I had always meant for football to be my ticket to and through college. So, I turned down the draft and went back to TCU in the fall for my super-senior year.
I dove into various student leadership roles, volunteering as a mentor of high school students through Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serving as president for TCU’s chapter of the NAACP. During one of our chapter meetings focused on educational equity, a recruiter from Teach For America, a teacher preparation program, asked if she could speak, and I was glad for her to attend.
She told us about how teachers are the most important school-based factor for student achievement.
She made it clear to us that if we really wanted to be a part of the solution of race-based opportunity and achievement gaps, we would make the most difference from inside of schools. I was sold.
I never wanted to be a teacher, but now I can’t imagine anything else. I teach eighth-grade U.S. history at Ousley Jr. High School in Arlington ISD. I am the faculty advisor for YELO, the Young Emerging Leaders of Ousley, a student-led organization where young men on our campus develop perceptions of themselves as leaders in and out of school. I coach just about everything.
I see my role as a teacher and, just as importantly, as a mentor—especially to the young black men in this school.
I know that I have unique and important things to offer them, shared experiences and a passion for accurately teaching the history of black people in this country.