Call Me MISTER: Georgia Southern junior Jordan Moreno is passionate about teaching, changing the education paradigm
Program applications being accepted through May 1 for the 2023-24 academic year; informational session on March 2.
Jordan Moreno, a junior in the College of Education (COE) at Georgia Southern University, recalls not having a Black teacher until the 7th grade. Since then, he’s dreamed about being a part of a paradigm shift in education while pursuing his passion for teaching and mentoring elementary students.
“I’ve always wanted to change the game in education,” Moreno said. “As far as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a teacher. It’s really the only career for me. It ticks all the boxes and I’m able to impact my future students so they can impact the world.”
As a member of the inaugural 2022-2023 cohort of Georgia Southern’s Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) program, Moreno is doing just that.
In partnership with Clemson University, the Call Me MISTER program aims to increase the number of Georgia teachers from diverse backgrounds and experiences; recruit, retain and nurture participants; and build educator talent in high-need areas.
“It’s such an amazing program,” said Moreno. “We need more people in the classrooms who are passionate about teaching, passionate about getting our students engaged and in love with school again. That’s really the program model. We are servant-leaders and role models in elementary and middle schools.”
According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. public school teachers are considerably less diverse than the student populations they teach. Only 7% of U.S. public school teachers are Black, and of those, 2% are Black males.
Moreno, who will be the first in his family to graduate from college, thought that it would be impossible to have a Black male professor in college.
At Georgia Southern, he was excited to meet Calvin Walton, Ph.D., lecturer in Georgia Southern’s Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading and Call Me MISTER program director. Walton is passionate about the organization’s directives.
“It is my distinct honor to serve as the inaugural director of our Call Me MISTER program,” Walton said. “My passion to build a strong Call Me MISTER program emerges from a desire to improve school outcomes and experiences for students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. Our mission is to increase the pool of Black male teachers and teachers from broader and more diverse backgrounds to work in some of the region’s lowest performing elementary and middle schools. I have high expectations that Georgia Southern University’s Call Me MISTER program will produce talented and passionate teachers who embody social justice education and transformational change for marginalized students.”
Walton encouraged Moreno to join the new cohort, emphasizing the networking, leadership, camaraderie and achievement opportunities under the guidance and support of adult advocates.
There are biweekly meetings with other MISTERS and a summer institute at Clemson where current and alumni MISTERS from around the country come together.
“We’re able to collaborate, remember why we want to be teachers,” he said. “It’s a really beautiful program.”
Additionally, the MISTER program offers tuition and book assistance and coordinates efforts on behalf of the students for mentoring and teaching placements.
Currently, Moreno works with fourth and fifth graders at Largo-Tibet Elementary School in Savannah once a week. He guides his own lessons with playful learning as they explore future careers.
“I have such a good time with it,” he said. “I’m being supported and I get to support my future students, so I’m having a ball.
“And I’ve gotten rave reviews from the school counselor and the school social worker. They can tell that I love it.”
The College of Education is accepting applications for the Call Me MISTER program for the 2023-2024 academic year through May 1. There will be an information session via Zoom at 6 p.m. on March 2.
For more information on how to join the Zoom info session or apply to the program, visit https://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/call-me-mister/ or contact Calvin Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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