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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Once Homeless Teacher Whose Mom Died From AIDS Wins Teacher of the Year Award

Lakeisha Brown, DC Teacher of the Year

Washington, DC — Meet Lakeisha Brown, a teacher at Lafayette Elementary School in the nation’s capital, who has been named D.C. Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She proved that despite having to overcome a lot of challenges, she can still achieve her goal and inspire her students to do the same.

Brown’s childhood wasn’t easy. She was bullied and teased at school. She was also stereotyped by her own teachers at school for being Black.

“They counted me out,” Brown told WJLA. “They didn’t put a lot of focus on African Americans, and that we could go to college or push us to take AP classes.”

At the age of 9, she had to take care of her dying mother who had AIDS. It affected her studies and her teachers seemed not to understand that.

“Being up the night before and taking care of a sick parent. My teachers were always mad that I was late. They didn’t take the time to give me a moment,” Brown said.

Now, Brown has been teaching elementary school students for the last four years. She sees to it that her students don’t experience what she experienced when she was in school.

“My number one goal is my kids know before we even start our day that they can get a hug first. If they are late, I’m not going to rush them in. I’m going to embrace them because you never know what happened before they got there.”

Brown also put her own style in teaching to make a more welcoming environment during class.

“My students do the teaching rather than me doing it. You will see them leading the classroom, asking questions to each other,” Brown said. “Some of the children who are shy and reserved don’t have their voices heard. So I started selecting them just to make sure that they are also coming out of their shell as well.”

Brown’s students do weather reports, reading, and even dancing. Brown said, “I allow the classroom to flow in the eyes of my student and now in my adult eyes. They have so much energy and talent.”

Brown definitely made the learning experience more enjoyable for her students.

“I like coming in to see Ms. Brown,” said Emily, one of her students. “She lets us have fun, but she keeps us getting our brains smarter.”

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