BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As teachers retire or leave the profession altogether, there’s an ongoing need for public school teachers and that need is especially prevalent among special education, science and math teachers.
When a math teacher suddenly left North Brunswick High School (NBHS) last year, Johnathan Blue, who is now in his third year of teaching, stepped in to fill the gap.
This is only his second year at the school. Even though he was already teaching three, 90-minute math classes daily, he volunteered to teach a fourth class.
After receiving a nomination about Blue’s impact in the classroom, we decided to surprise him as our ‘Teacher of the Week’ sponsored by Wilmington Granite.
“I, literally, just finished a mini lecture on the law of attraction before y’all walked through the door,” Blue said. “I was telling my students about how you reap what you sow, and if you continue to sow good things, good things will happen to you.”
Sowing seeds of wisdom can be a challenge at times for this UNC Charlotte graduate.
“Yeah, it’s tiresome, they get on my nerves sometimes,” he says with a grin. “They sometimes get under my skin, but at the end of the day, everybody needs somebody and so I took it upon myself to hold up the mantle.”
The ‘mantle’ he’s referring was once held by another beloved math teacher at the school.
“When I first got here, we had an amazing teacher by the name of Ms. Jennifer Coston and in the middle of the school year, she tragically left us–she transitioned on Christmas Day,” he said.
During a public memorial service for Coston on January 7, 2019, hundreds of people packed the high school gym to celebrate her leadership and dedication to education.
So, last year, when another math teacher suddenly quit, Blue knew what he had to do.
“Ms. Coston would have picked up the class,” he said. “The more I do, the less someone else has to do because I can bear the load right now.”
From his fashion-forward leather boots and stylish hair, to his unconventional way of writing math equations backwards on students’ desks, they find him extremely relatable.
“He has a unique ability to make unique connections with his students,” said NBHS Principal Steven Sullivan. “That relationship he’s built with kids makes them want to do well for him.”
Blue’s ability to gain their respect, combined with his love for math, makes him worthy of recognition.
“Being able to recognize our teachers and show them that they’re appreciated goes a long way with boosting that moral and letting people know, and letting our teachers know that they are appreciated and what they’re doing is valued,” Sullivan said.
Fostering a sense of value, Blue says, is the one thing students want and need most.
“If anyone is watching and you have some time, please come and volunteer in the school.. if you have at least one hour in the course of a month, make your way into a school system,” Blue said. ” Our students can only be what it is they see, and if they don’t see you, then there’s no way they can be you.”
If you would like to nominate a teacher for our Teacher of the Week award sponsored by Wilmington Granite, click here. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card.