Teacher Appreciation Week With Educator and Best Selling Author Tameka Hanley 

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. We’re highlighting educators who are making a difference in and outside of the classroom. Tameka Hanley is an Atlanta-based educator and author. She is also a multi-talented artist. With her diverse background, she is skilled at translating a vision into impactful, cross-channel media and projects. We interviewed Tameka about her book and passion for teaching.

How important do you feel teachers are to building confidence in children?

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!! Teachers are so essential and are extremely imperative contributors to building confidence in children. We lay out the foundational skills and instill affirmations of belief into each and every one of our students every single day. I truly believe that academic success will not be achieved without belief. Being able to pour that into our younger generation is absolutely magical.

Was teaching always your passion? If not what was and what changed your mind.

Absolutely not! But God had other plans. My teaching journey began shortly after picking up a kindergarten paraprofessional position right after graduating undergrad. Having the opportunity to be inside the classroom and be a witness to the growth of students was such a beautiful thing. I fell in love from that moment on.

How important is representation within the teaching field?

Very! One thing I noticed within our schools, and community libraries is that almost all of the books on the shelves show Caucasian characters, that do not represent our black youth. So, I wanted to find something they could relate to while also feeding them encouragement at the same time. That’s why I decided to become an author.

What age group do you teach?

Kindergarten! Those little minds amaze me everyday!

Tell us how your students inspire you.

My kiddos inspire me daily simply by showing up and trying their best. Doing that one task allows them to get one step closer to not becoming a statistic. They’ve also inspried me to use my story of an African American teacher finding strength to become a best-selling author in the middle of a pandemic and to inspire others to never stop pushing.

Tell us a little about the book.

Fresh Princess of Bel Air follows Harlem native, Alexa Baldwin whose life turns upside down when her father boots her out from the projects into the boogie streets of Bel Air. The question is, will Alexa be able to stay true to who she is, without losing herself? I am a huge fan of the original show! As an educator gifted with writing skills, I wanted to create a timeless literary piece that brings a fresh new light to our young readers, specifically my young black girls yet still connects and, humors them much like the classic show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” In a sense, I wanted to introduce a new heir to Bel Air. Viola, Fresh Princess of Bel Air was born.

Keep up to date: @meektheauthor

Tammy Reese

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