Graduate comes home to be a teacher, role model in Indianapolis

Montez Myles is an education graduate from IU Bloomington. (Montez Myles)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) — It is teacher appreciation week, and there are now a lot of college grads looking for their next jobs in your kids' classrooms.

Montez Myles was one of them. He just graduated from Indiana University in education, and he has already landed his first job teaching English at New Augusta North Academy Middle School in Pike Township.

"It was the influence I saw my mom had with her individual students. It wasn't always immediate. It was students who came back to her years later and said how much of an inspiration she was and how she got them on the right track for them later in life. Not just today," he said.

There was something else that fueled his fire. It became evident to him that he was the only African American male in his class to graduate in education.

"Although it is shocking it's kind of expected because of recent history," he said. Most people can't say they've had a black educator in front of them especially a black male."

Adrian Robinson, a senior at the IU School of Education, said he never had a teacher that looked like him. Because of that, he's also inspired to become a teacher.

"I just wanted to be the teacher I never had and inspire and influence my students," he said.

Robinson's love of history has him hoping to land a job teaching social studies when he graduates.

"I feel like it's my calling. It's what I should be doing regardless of what is going on and I feel like that is where I should be right now," he explained.

They both understand the challenges. They see teachers marching for pay raises, students marching for school safety. They see this as an opportunity to do what they love, and they encourage other black males to do the same. Myles notes that doesn't always involve the classroom.

"You can be an influential coach. You can be a counselor. You can be a mentor. You can be a principal. Wherever you find your niche as far as building a connection with young minds, I say go for it," he said.