Davian always loved to dance for fun. But he had no idea that his dancing skills would have a huge impact on hundreds of students. How did this individual go from being an aspiring FBI agent to teaching kids in a dream classroom? This is Davian Morgan’s story, and it has a really, REALLY happy ending.
A Chance Meeting
Davian Morgan, like many of us, spent his young adult life trying to figure out his future. He started out at the University of Maryland College where his interests varied from engineering to criminal justice and global terrorism studies. Davian was convinced that he’d spend his life working for the government. “CIA, FBI, DOJ… I was definitely going to get a job at one of those places.”
During his senior year of college, a friend of Davian’s suggested he meet with a Teach For America (TFA) recruiter. Over lunch, Davian learned about TFA’s mission to unlock every child’s potential with equal access to education. After growing up in a low-income neighborhood, this mission resonated with him and he was inspired by the potential to lead children from his neighborhood to a successful future.
This spring Davian is one week away from graduating with his Masters in Teaching from Johns Hopkins and working as a support 2nd Grade Teacher at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in Washington DC, and will have his own classroom next year.
“Teaching is that missing link that I’ve been looking for forever.”
Davian’s Unique Teaching Style
If you were to sit in on one of Davian’s classes at Ingenuity Prep, you’d immediately get a sense of his teaching style. Davian strives to make sure his students are engaged as possible, and sometimes that means not only making sure they are mentally engaged, but physically as well.
“I definitely think I’m a performer.”
Watch Davian’s moment of surprise when He wins his dream classroom & check out his teaching style!
There are many philosophies of teaching, and each of them have their benefits. Davian believes that he can use a combination of his youth and his upbringing to connect with his kids. A young and excited 24-year-old teacher can easily connect with his students.
Davian has one standout memory of a particularly challenging day when his active teaching style came in handy. “There was something was in the air,” he recalled, “students were tired and sleepy, and a handful of them were acting out.” It was Davian’s first year of teaching, and one of the other teachers was out of the classroom, so he was a bit panicked.
Davian made a split-second decision to integrate some fun into the classroom. While he was watching the music video for “Watch Me,” something finally clicked. He pulled it up on a classroom TV, and started to do the whip and nae nae dance from the video in front of all his students.
He was terrified about it at first. He thought to himself “oh god, they’re gonna think I’m this corny teacher.” But before he knew it, his students were on their feet and everyone was having a great time. He then settled them down, and continued on with his lesson plan. From that moment, he knew that using an active style of teaching was the best way for him to connect with the students.
Connecting With His Students
Dancing is only one way that Davian connects with his students. He also identifies with them. Davian was raised in similar conditions as his students, and that makes him even more passionate to help them succeed in education. Davian is from an low-income area of Southeast Washington DC faced with high crime rates, high poverty rates, and low graduation rates. He understands the challenges his students take on while seeking a successful future. Davian wanted to show them that a teacher could look just like them.
All of his students are African-American and working toward future success, just like Davian was at their age. This connection is part of the reason he can so easily identify with his students. He strives to know what his students are thinking about and talking about so he can make his lessons relatable.
I know my boys love Ninja Turtles and wrestling, my girls love Dr. McMuffin, they love Monster High. Incorporating those things into my classroom raises engagement and students are more likely to pay attention and understand the materials.”
When Davian found out about Educents’ Teacher Appreciation contest, he saw it as an opportunity to win educational resources for his students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Many of his students come from low-income homes without a budget for toys or learning resources.
When Davian found out that the contest involved gaining votes, he knew he would find a way to win. He told himself “this is a competition basically to get free goodies for my students? I’ll do whatever I need.” He also thinks he might have lost a few friends due to sending dozens of messages, but he says it was still worth it, especially because he WON!
Now Davian has $5,000 worth of educational supplies set up for his classroom in Washington DC next year. He’s especially excited about more tech-savvy products like the GeoSafari Talking Globe. Now he imagines he and his students dancing to educational cartoons like Rock N’ Learn. His classroom will have tools they wouldn’t have had access to, and it’s all thanks to their dedicated teacher, Mr. Davian.
“They may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ? pic.twitter.com/eIjTfVGrId
— Davian 〽organ (@Davey_Divito) December 16, 2015
Way to go Davian!