Our February Teacher Spotlight highlights Chevaughn Brown, a third-year mathematics teacher at Smith Middle School in Chapel Hill, NC. Chevaughn has taken full advantage of his experience here as a teacher by sharing his strong Jamaican roots, creating traditional dishes such as Saltfish and Callaloo for his students, and even coaching track to over seventy 7th and 8th grade students! Chevaughn shares a glimpse of his experience through his self-created article, “Life at Smith.”
Smith Middle School is culturally diverse.
Having joined the Smith Middle school in 2019, a lot has happened over the years. This year was no different. I am a part of Smith Middle School, a culturally diverse institution. Each year the school hosts its Global connection event in which a flag ceremony marks its opening.
At first, I was hesitant to be a part of the ceremony because I was the only teacher carrying a flag in the September 30th event. However, the students and staff made sure to include me in the school’s recess field ceremony.
As a result, it was an excellent opportunity to walk across the stage with Jamaica’s black, green and gold flag. In addition, many students participated in the ceremony in which they carried flags from varied countries, showcasing this institution’s diversity.
Whether I’m on or off the track, I share my culture.
This year I had the opportunity of coaching cross country. It was a great way to give back to the students outside of the classroom and meet their parents. I like track and field, so coaching cross country came easy.
The season was a great one as I had the opportunity to coach over seventy 7th and 8th graders who were a part of a team for the first time. It was also their first time interacting with an international teacher from Jamaica.
They were excited about me coaching them, especially with the strong track legacy that Jamaica holds and my unique accent.
Whether on or off the track, I always share my culture through food, dance, and fashion. During the week of October 25-29, we had spirit week, and I was able to dress as a black panther, and the African American kids were excited about this representation.
I have also had the opportunity of sharing a few Jamaican dishes with the students on a fun day, and not even a power outage would stop me! I prepared Callaloo and Saltfish on a hot plate, and the students enjoyed it with rolls.
The students show their appreciation in various ways, such as paintings or making bracelets. I am grateful to be a part of their academic and social development journey.