Servant Leader Apprentice Spotlight – Aishah Nashedeem

"My experience with Freedom Schools Literacy Academy afforded me so much confirmation that I was on the right path." Aishah Nashadeem

I chose to enter the teaching profession my sophomore year at West Chester University. At the time, I had recently voted in my first presidential election and felt defeated as Donald Trump was sworn in. I began to think of ways I could make small changes and contribute to the bettering of the Black communities. Teaching Black and Brown children was one of the ideas I came up with. So, I decided to switch into an education major, a role that felt very fitting for me.

In my current role, I teach 7th and 8th graders humanities, which is a history and English/Language Arts combined course at Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia. 

I believe the difference that Black teachers make in students' lives is connection. I have been teaching for two years now and built strong relationships with students that they did not have with any other teacher in their life. That connection allowed me to guide a few Black young men onto the right path and motivate them in ways they were missing. Most of my students look at me like a family member and their love for me is unconditional, simply because I connect with them.

My experience with Freedom Schools Literacy Academy afforded me so much confirmation that I was on the right path. The start of my teaching career began during the pandemic. Yet in a time of great uncertainty, the work I got to do with the Freedom Schools Literacy Academy as a Servant Leader Apprentice confirmed that I was right where I needed to be and that I could lead a group of children to success. 

I would influence others to join the teaching profession by telling them to look around at today's youth. In Philadelphia, our teenage murder rate is extreme. We are losing our kids to gun violence at alarming rates because they need guidance. That guidance isn't going to just appear out of thin air. 

We need people that kids can relate to leading our classrooms. Also, teaching is such a rewarding career because each and every day I know that the 90+ kids I am responsible for all have at least one person they connect with and can see as a positive role model to look up to.

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