Pelham Gardens Middle School, Bronx NY
A brief bio including your school and subject area
Edmund Adjapong, a native of the Bronx, NY, is science educator at Pelham Gardens Middle School in the Bronx. He is also a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is also currently the administrator for the Science Genius Program, a program that engages urban students in the sciences through Hip-Hop, and the director of The Science Genius Academy, a program that encourages and prepares students to pursue STEM careers while providing mentoring and support. Concurrently, Edmund serves as the founder and director of The Science Genius Academy, a program that encourages and prepares students to pursue STEM careers while providing mentoring and support.
Why did you choose to become a teacher?
I decided to become a teacher specifically because of my many negative experiences in New York City public schools, especially in science classrooms. I always loved science, but felt that my teachers did not understand me as a Black male and therefore did not know how to reach and teach me in the classroom. I only noticed a misrepresentation and a disconnect between myself and my teachers. I decided to teach in the Bronx to encourage more youth who look like me to aspire to become scientist and to show them that they can be successful in STEM.
As a teacher, what matters most to you at the end of the day?
What matters most to me at the end of the day is that all students are being heard, taught to think critically and are treated fairly. Far too often we don’t listen to the voices of our students and are unaware of the realities they face outside of schools. If we listen to our students, we will have a better understanding of their realities. Finally, if we teach them to think critically, they will be able to digest and analyze information in any context.
What difference do you think being a male teacher of color makes in the lives of NYC youth?
Studies have shown that teachers of color are more effective in teaching students of diverse backgrounds mainly because teachers of color can relate to students and often times share similar culture values. Students enjoy seeing educators that look like them and come from the same walk of life as them.
What would you say to men of color who are thinking about becoming teachers but have not yet made the decision?
If you a male of color and are considering becoming a teacher in New York City public schools understand that you are needed. You will have an amazing time building and working with students who are often misunderstood. But, understand that teaching is a beautiful art that takes time to master.