Black Teachers Matter: Ashley Hodges

Why did you choose teaching?
I chose teaching because it’s something that comes naturally to me. I enjoy seeing a person grow based on learning a new perspective.

Does representation matter in the classroom? Why or why not?
Of course. I teach my students to be proud of their cultures, heritages and background. I created a space in my classroom where students were allowed to bring in something symbolic from their culture. Every week we incorporated a different type of cultural music into our classroom playlist for the day.

Can you name another educator, who had an impact on you as a teacher?
My ILT specialist, Andrea Johnson. She has poured endlessly into my life on a professional level. She always challenges me to think outside of the “box” while lesson planning and ask questions that enhance my students critical thinking skills.

What is your vision of a leader?
A leader is both someone that consistently impacts people and someone that people can model themselves after.

What are your current goals? Personal or professional?
Professionally, my goal is to become a counselor. I enjoy introducing people to different perspectives and seeing them gain the courage to grow in multiple areas of their life.

What is the hardest and best part of teaching?
The hardest part of teaching is building a communal relationship/culture with my student’s parents. Once the parents understand that they are a part of the school community, then teaching is slightly alleviated in that vein.

How do you stay motivated?
Prayer, community and hearing feedback from my students.

If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
We’ve had plenty of restorative circles where my students have received my wisdom. I would teach them that the greatest gift they can give to someone else is to help someone believe in themselves.


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