Reporting Gigi Barnett
WASHINGTON (WJZ)– Maryland’s top teacher takes a trip to the nation’s capital.
Gigi Barnett talks with the Baltimore County English teacher about his chance to meet the president.
Seven years ago, one of Joshua Parker’s job applications to a Maryland school district was denied. Now he’s the state Teacher of the Year and this week, he’s in the nation’s capital to meet the president.
“You always remember your English teacher, better or worse. You just kind of do,” Parker said.
English teacher Joshua Parker wants his students to remember him well. Many of them do because he meets with them on the weekends just to read.
It’s why he was named the Maryland Teacher of the Year back in October. And this week, Parker joined the nation’s other teachers of the year at the White House to meet the president.
“He seems very, very genuine. He asked me about school and the grades that I teach. There was only about 40 seconds, but it felt like four minutes,” Parker said.
Parker says he showers his students at Windsor Mill Middle School with that kind of attention, and they respond.
“If you can listen to a student and not say anything, they will talk to you everyday that you’re there,” Parker said. “Because they want to heard, especially in middle school.”
Parker received the state Teacher of the Year title because of a reading program he developed for African-American boys. They read the classics, novels and autobiographies of other black male authors, and that sparks deep discussion.
“If I can give them an avenue through which to express their emotions written, I can cut down may be on some domestic violence later on because they’re able to express their feeling not through fists but through words,” Parker said.
In addition to meeting the president, Parker gets a slew of prizes including $9,000 in cash, $15,000 in teaching supplies and a 2012 Honda Civic.
Parker also gets to throw out the first pitch at an Orioles game in August.