190: Bonus Edition- Interview with Jahkari “JT” Taylor

Jahkari “JT” Taylor was born to be a Purpose Pusher.  His life’s work demonstrates his passion for cultivating, motivating, and inspiring people from all walks of life. Yet, JT’s life story may not fit the mold of an ideal Purpose Pusher.  When he was just a child he went from living in a 1987 Ford Fairmont, to a packed homeless shelter.  Then, after his mother applied for Section 8 housing, they soon relocated to a tough neighborhood in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, Virginia.  He attended Title 1 schools as a struggling student who failed to realize his academic potential.  Yet, in spite of the adversities he encountered as a youth, JT emerged out of an impoverished, single-parent upbringing with a desire to push others into their divine purpose in life.  JT is now a transformational educator who has three earned degrees (magna cum laude) and he is the 2017 City-wide Teacher of the Year for Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia.  JT is also the founder of Purpose Pushers LLC which is a hybrid educational consulting company that couples research-based professional development with motivational speaking. He has written 5 books and presented at numerous K-12 schools, colleges/universities, and professional conferences across the East coast.

Quotables

  • I was present, but not available for learning.
  • Cumulative Effect: I needed to hear the same message multiple different ways from many different people before it began to click.
  • We know that educators wear so many hats, you have to be multi faceted. you have to be organized, analytical, understand curriculum framework and alignment, so many things you need. above everything else I think you need to have the right heart. i think you can learn strategies, techniques, so many things when you go into teacher prep programs but the one thing you cant learn is to be empathetic and have a heart for kids and love kids genuinely, authentically and want to be present to help them. Above all, educators who i consider teacher with a purpose are those who are understanding, empathetic, compassionate, resilient..to me they manifest character traits of good decent people opposed to those who we would consider book smart or have a good handle on curriculum and instruction.
  • Teachers want to feel supported and have a sense of encouragement.
  • Always be mindful of the reason why you entered the field of education.
  • You need to approach every day like you’re on assignment.
  • What’s not scheduled will not get accomplished.
  • Their success is my success.
  • It’s the teacher that creates the bridge to help [students] move from disengaged to highly engaged.
  • This pedagogy stuff won’t work if you don’t build a relationship with kids.
  • An uninspired teacher cannot be expected to inspire teachers.

JT’s Stamp of Approval

Connect with JT (Purpose Pushers LLC)

Connect with Gretchen

  • Email: gretchen@alwaysalesson.com
  • Blog: Always A Lesson
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  • Book: Elementary EDUC 101: What They Didn’t Teach You in College

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About the author, Gretchen

I am an educator of almost a decade, passionate about cultivating talent in aspiring and new teachers through practical tips and strategies. My blog, book, and podcast are geared towards empowering teachers to enter the profession and stay there due to the advice and encouragement I provide. We have a real need in our nation for strong leaders in classrooms, and I believe its my calling and duty to coach teachers to achieve and maintain best teaching practices in order to drive the growth and success of our students in and outside the classroom.