Pre-K teacher goes viral after sharing virtual-classroom dance parties: ‘It’s about bringing that joy factor’

DC teacher Azel Prather Jr., spotted here during a rare face-to-face meeting with a student, went viral for getting creative with virtual learning. (Photo: Instagram)
During the pandemic, there was no shortage of commendable teachers, including a Pre-K teacher who went viral this week after sharing tapes of his virtual classroom's dance lessons - a unique "joy factor" strategy he engages students with .
"It's a difficult time for me, but I get my joy and my energy when I'm with the children, and I know that they live off the same thing. So it's about bringing this joy factor," she said Teacher, mentor and philanthropist Azel Prather. Jr. tells Yahoo Life about teaching at a DC school during this challenging time. “I'll play the song you want to hear. We do the dances they want to do. It's their world, I only live in it. "
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In an Instagram post that initially had 9,500 likes but shot over 36,600 after sharing it with "Because of them", a content platform that shares stories about "Black Excellence", Prather writes: "I know that more virtual Lessons are difficult, but there is always a creative way to get them and keep babies engaged! Start your weekend off with a little joy! I told you my virtual class is lit! After training, I let my kids get away with some dance moves. As long as we move our body, we exercise! "
Prather has been teaching early childhood education for five years and spent the last two years at the KIPP DC Arts & Technology Academy, a public charter school. “I want them to learn and have fun. Let me meet you where you are, ”he says of his innovative dance breaks in the classroom. “If you can say that one child is dancing in their chair while we are trying to study and another child is dancing in their chair as well, we may all just have to dance, but then we may have to dance and instead learn a surname at the same time. You just look at your children, you see a need and you fulfill it. "
The 30-year-old Maryland native is also the CEO and founder of the Prather Foundation, which specializes in meeting the needs of the community. The organization specifically caters to children living in overlooked communities - those who are overlooked look like me, talk like me, and walk like me. "
AtherPrather goes on to explain that his organization provides the local community with bills for mental health, physical health, groceries and other necessities, noting that "these things are not just for the holidays, but for the whole person".
With this in mind, his foundation is organizing a free virtual Christmas Eve party for children aged 3 to 6 with the title “A Letter to Black Santa Claus”.
The roles of teacher and philanthropist, says Prather, go hand in hand. "It's a simple balance because I need both of them. I need the children - to see them and to talk to them, to interact with them - that does something for me that fulfills me," he explains. "In return, I take I do that and go straight to the same churches and can pour out of what I have to do with the kids. So it actually works perfectly. "
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