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Atlanta Heights Educator Shares Passion for Meaningful Relationships on The Teachers’ Lounge

This is a spotlight on one of NHA’s educators who is featured on The Teachers’ Lounge.

Deonte Bridges, dean of middle school at Atlanta Heights Charter School, has always had a passion for youth and community, though he didn’t start out as a teacher. Before becoming an educator, he spent his time visiting schools as a motivational speaker, something that only pushed him closer to education.

While he initially had no aspirations to become a teacher, he was heavily influenced by a series of amazing educators that served as role models to him. He went to Booker T. Washington High School, graduating as the first Black male valedictorian in a decade and securing over one million dollars in scholarships. But things were not always easy.

Mr. Bridges has experienced real loss in his life, and he feels that his experiences and having grown up in the area helps him support his scholars in a special way. “Every day I wake up inspired to make a difference for my scholars,” he said.

Building meaningful relationships with his students and being involved in his community is extremely important to him. He believes that once you build a relationship, then you’re able to do so much more.
“Once students realize you really do care and you are invested in their wellbeing beyond the curriculum, everything else falls into place,” said Mr. Bridges.

Mr. Bridges recently went on The Teachers’ Lounge podcast to share his passion for building relationships with students. The Teachers’ Lounge is National Heritage Academies’ (NHA) library of podcast episodes, videos, and blogs that support teachers in all stages of their careers by sharing helpful tips and tricks on teaching-related topics.

Each guest on The Teachers’ Lounge is an expert in a particular area of teaching, bringing a unique perspective on educator-specific topics, and Mr. Bridges brings his passion for connecting with his students.
 
Listen to Mr. Bridges’ episode by subscribing to The Teachers’ Lounge on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Or you can watch a bite-sized clip on “Taking Off Your Teacher Hat”, or watch his full episode here.
 
“The Teachers' Lounge provides the necessary forum for NHA teachers to learn from one another,” said Alisha Fisher, principal at Atlanta Heights. “Videos, blogs, and podcasts are at your fingertips. Mr. Bridges’ participation in The Teachers' Lounge series had immeasurable impact. I was incredibly inspired to hear his real-life approaches on building relational capacity during his interview. He provided practical strategies that teachers can readily apply. This network empowers teachers to grow into change agents with regards to classroom culture and instructional capacity. I wish The Teachers' Lounge was around when I was in the classroom.”

Mr. Bridges believes The Teachers’ Lounge content is valuable, saying that he has not seen many podcasts devoted to teachers in the way The Teachers’ Lounge is.
 
“The perspectives, insight, and expertise from educators who are from different spaces and places allows listeners to gain a wealth of knowledge that other podcasts may not provide,” said Mr. Bridges. “The podcast stands apart from others because it is committed to exploring and discussing topics that impact and influence education beyond the four walls of the classroom. I believe that The Teachers’ Lounge has the potential to be a safe space for educators, something we all need during these times especially.” 
 
Mr. Bridges has contributed four blogs to The Teachers’ Lounge so far, including “Taking the Teacher Hat Off”, “The Importance of Patience in the Classroom”, “3 Pillars of Creating Relationships with Students in an Urban Environment”, and “How to be Authentic with Your Students”.
 
“I believe in sharing my teaching knowledge because we, as educators, can be a tremendous resource for each other,” he said. “Sharing in The Teachers’ Lounge specifically affords us the opportunity to share ideas, best practices, etc. outside of our immediate circle of teacher friends and colleagues. I don’t want to keep all of my innovative ideas and best practices to myself. I believe all scholars deserve the type of educational experience that I set out to provide. Therefore, I’m always willing to share with the hopes of assisting other educators who may need some support with having a positive impact on their scholars in the classroom and beyond.”
 
Keep up the excellent work, Mr. Bridges!

Listen to The Teachers’ Lounge podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, watch videos on The Teachers' Lounge YouTube, or read the blog. If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in The Teacher’s Lounge, email swilliams@nhaschools.com.