5 Questions with Jameelah Henderson

Learn more about this month's Super Staff Member, Jameelah Henderson. Math Interventionist at MacDowell Prep Academy.

Why did you get into education? I discovered that I wanted to be an educator at a very young age. From lining up my stuffed animals forcing them to "have class", to making my twin brother sit through my chalkboard lesson of how to write your own book, teaching has been at my core since I was a kid. Once I figured out that my destiny would lead me to become a teacher, I dedicated my life discovering my "why" and making it happen. Simply put, I am an educator because I want to make a difference. I want to be for others what some of my teachers have been for me. Not just an educator, but an inspiration, a role model, an example, and a leader. I want my students to learn the importance of education and discover how far they can go in the world by becoming life-long learners. I want to be a walking example of how far dedication, hard work, and perseverance can take you, no matter what one has faced in the past. I've dedicated my life to helping shape the future of our world by being a positive light in the lives of those I encounter. I want students to see me and say to themselves, "if she can do it, so can I. If she can make it through what she's made it through, and still be successful, so can I". Being an educator allows me to be a positive light, live out my dreams, and fulfill my purpose, all while walking in my destiny and having the privilege to do what I love.

Who was your favorite teacher and why? My favorite teacher was my 6th & 8th grade Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Brooks. Mrs. Brooks was the epitome of everything I wanted to be as a teacher. She was black. She was intelligent. She was strong. She was fearless. She was authentic. She was beautiful. She was tough. She cared. And she didn't take any stuff. When I looked at her, I saw "me". I walked out of her classroom everyday believing I could conquer the world. She was everything I wanted to be as a black woman and teacher.

How do you “Sharpen the Saw?”

"It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live". ~ J.K. Rowling

While I am living out my dreams as an educator, I've learned to "sharpen the saw" by ensuring that I do the things that make me happy in life, both professionally and personally. While education is my passion, I can't pour from an empty cup. I learned very early in my career that in order for me to be a successful educator, I had to find a balance professionally and personally to make certain that I stay "full". I've learned to find balance in life by continuing to grow professionally as an educator through continuing my education, research , consistent professional development, and seeking opportunities that force me out of my comfort zone, while at the same time incorporating those things I love and enjoy about life that have nothing to do with my career. Trying new restaurants, reading new books, going on vacation, watching a movie on Netflix, spending time with my family, catching up on a new show, etc..... "Sharpening the saw" for me means finding the balance in life to ensure that I don't spend so much time going through life "dwelling on dreams" that I forget to live.

Who is your hero and why? My heroes are my parents. Together they taught me the value of family, love, a relationship with God, hard work , dedication, and perseverance. They taught me that I can do anything I set out to do, no matter what obstacles life throws my way. They instilled in me the value of facing adversity and learning from life's experiences. It was through their example that I learned how to "grow through what I go through" and allow life's experiences to give me the strength, tools, and knowledge I need to fulfill my purpose on earth.

What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is "The Shack" by William P. Young. This book forced me to view life and life's circumstances from a different vantage point than I had prior to reading it. There are many lessons about life, love, family, pain, forgiveness and trusting God in this book that challenged my thinking and compelled me to see the world differently.

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