Makiah Burroughs Women’s History Month Spotlight Feature

Makiah Burroughs attends the University of Virginia. She is a future Black teacher involved with the Center for Black Educator's Freedom Schools Literacy Academy and the Black Teacher Pipeline Fellowship. She believes that “when our Freedom Schools scholars look at me, they see not just a Black teacher, but someone that looks like a family member, making them more comfortable and ready to learn.” 

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?

Sharif El-Mekki has been my biggest inspiration for becoming an educator. I gratefully met El-Mekki at 13. He was the principal for about four years. His efforts in promoting educational equity and social justice didn't go unnoticed within or outside of the school building. Over the years, I began to notice what once seemed minuscule, my passion for education has become something I can't picture my life without. 

Share one moment when you felt you had the most impact as a teacher.

It is always fulfilling when students leave your classroom wanting to know more. When they make connections and spark new ideas, it shows a deeper level of engagement. I feel most impactful when being inquisitive surpasses the classroom and extends into their everyday lives. 

What advice would you share with a future Black teacher?

A piece of advice I would give to future black educators would be to never underestimate the power of cultural capital. Embrace your unique perspectives and understand that representation and building authentic connections with students add immense value to children's educational experiences.