A Suffolk, Virginia, school teacher is getting creative this Black History Month!
LaToya McGriff is a first-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School. She has been teaching there for six years and has been an educator for 12. McGriff is part of the school’s Black History Month committee and decided to dress up every day as a historic African American figure according to WAVY, a local TV website.
“It’s kind of bringing history alive for the kids and it sparks curiosity. Once they’re curious about something that sparks learning. So, they can ask me stuff throughout the day or see me in the hall walking because I’ll stay dressed up all day. They’ll say ‘Oh, you’re the teacher that’s dressed up.’ And they may tell me some facts that I didn’t know about that person or they may ask me something about that person,” said McGriff. McGriff says she also wanted to do it because of the school’s population. “I work at a majority-black school, so with having so many children of color, I wanted them to see that people who look like them contribute. They made contributions to the world,” she said.
There are countless African American inventors, political activists, musicians, and educators, who have made significant contributions in the world.
Civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X are easily recognizable, but it is also important for the youth to be knowledgeable of the lesser-known names of black history. For instance, Mack Benn Jr., who was the first African American superintendent in Suffolk Public Schools for example.
“I’m hoping they have more confidence in themselves that I, too, can be great, that I can contribute to the world. That’s the biggest takeaway for me,” she stated.
McGriff is going above and beyond as an educator for her class and she hopes that her students not only learn more about those in history but also about themselves.