Jonathon Hines loves teaching pre-K students as he gets to make their first impression of school a lasting one.
We all have splendid memories from our schooldays where we had that one teacher who made learning so much more fun. Jonathon Hines has proven to be that kind of teacher. He teaches the Pre-K classes at Barack Obama Elementary School in Atlanta and has made it a routine to greet every kid in his class with a special handshake made for each of them. The Instagram footage of Hines and his student doing different types of handshakes outside the classroom has gone viral on the internet.
In the caption of the video, Hines wrote, "I've learned that kids thrive the most when they are able to express themselves. This year Pre-K wanted to have a unique way to greet each other and say farewell."
"Each child came up with their own handshake! As you can see, there was a lot of dancing and a lot of hugs. Each child's handshake showed a little bit of their personality! Check out my little creative geniuses in the making! PreK the Mr. Hines way," he added.
ICYMI: Last week, Mr. Hines was announced as the 2019-2020 Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year for public schools! Hear more about this dynamic educator's story and classroom on our YouTube channel - https://t.co/P67Ir7xEbT pic.twitter.com/NyzsykQm0p— DeKalb Schools, GA (@DeKalbSchools) September 20, 2019
According to CNN, Hines also won Georgia's Pre-K Program Teacher of the Year award and is the first Black male Pre-K teacher to receive the award. Post his win, he told the news outlet that this is "one of the greatest milestones of his life." Hines hopes to inspire other men to take a chance and strive to make a difference inside the classroom.
Interestingly enough, Hines did not aim to become a pre-K teacher but he fell in love with the impact a teacher can make in a young student's life after spending two years in a classroom with the kids. Despite being a college basketball player, Hines did not end up becoming a coach.
Instead, he chose to enter the school system by taking up a job as a pre-K paraprofessional and stunned his principal two years later by turning down a health and PE coach position to continue teaching 4-year-olds in the classroom. Slowly, watching the children change and develop over the year has become one of Hines' favorite things.
"Pre-k is the most important grade to teach. There are no preconceived notions about the school, they are just curious about the world," he explained. "I have the opportunity to make their first impression of school a lasting impression and instill a love for learning and a positive attitude."
"A man doesn't have to play pro sports to be successful, role models are in the classroom. It's okay to be a male in an elementary building," he added. Hines hopes to encourage kids to idolize their teachers just like they idolize sports and entertainment figures.
Kids sure need more teachers like Hines!