You might say Barry Blackmon just has teaching in his veins.
Blackmon, the 2014-2015 district-wide Atlanta Public Schools Teacher of the Year and an American Graduate Champion, is a sixth grade English and Language Arts teacher at B.E.S.T Academy at Benjamin Carson Middle School, an all-boys public school that educates sixth through 12th graders.
I use a lot of different methods and try to mix my own type of gumbo within the classroom, such as discipline and humor
“I come from a family of educators and I can tell you I tried to run from it, but got caught up in it,” Blackmon said in an Atlanta Public Schools press release.
Flanked by two colleagues, who were also competitors for the prestigious award, Blackmon accepted one of the district’s highest honors from top APS school official, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, during a ceremony at the Loudermilk Center on October 16.
“I love teaching and I believe my mission in education is to ensure that my students are knowledgeable, productive, and responsible contributors of the world.”
Blackmon explained his teaching strategy during an interview with PBA’s American graduate.
“My style inside my classroom is very outside the box,” he said.
“I use a lot of different methods and try to mix my own type of gumbo within the classroom, such as discipline and humor, and have pride in their work, not only just pride in school, but just pride in themselves,” Blackmon explained.
Suddenly, in the middle of the interview, Blackmon turns and yells out to nearby students “You, my boys, say yes sir.” The students yell out in unison, “Yes, sir.” Blackmon yells back, “Who’s the best?” And the students respond in a powerful howl, “Me.”
After the impromptu demonstration of school spirit Blackmon points out “You see how even they know who’s the best.”
“They have pride in their school,” the educator added.
Blackmon often goes the extra mile for his students, too, giving them lessons in life, in addition to class work.
“I even go outside that box to put what I call a gentlemen’s project, together with fraternities in the community, and my own fraternity.”
The award-winning teacher said there’s more to school than book work when it comes to educating young men in urban environments.
“Just teaching them the chivalry, the act of respect, respecting one’s self, teaching them simply, maybe how to tie a tie or shake a person’s hand, to showing them “Hey man I’ll show you how to be a young man,’ a respectable, well-mannered, well-dressed young man in the community.”
Those efforts are part of why Blackmon not only won the district-wide Teacher of the Year award, but also why he’s an American Graduate Champion.
PBA's Atlanta Champions