Black Male Educator: Jerron Wishom of Abramson Sci Academy
Jerron Wishom is a former NFL player turned teacher and football coach with over five years of experience. While professional football has afforded him many luxuries outside of Louisiana, Jerron is grateful that football led him to become an educator. Before his sports career drew to a close, Jerron played with the New Orleans Voodoo Arena Football League team and hasn’t looked back since, deciding to make the city his home and its youth his own.
Currently at Abramson Sci Academy, Jerron Wishom has no intention of stopping his growth as an educator anytime soon.
What inspires you to work within the field of education?
I have to admit teaching was not what I had envisioned for my career. If you asked me what I envisioned as my career, I would have told you playing in the NFL. Well, that vision lasted about four years, which brings me to the question “What inspired me to work in the education field?”
I teach to inspire, to create hope, enlighten, and equip our kids with the knowledge and tools to not only be successful in the classroom, but also in life.
How do you utilize your experience as a professional athlete to encourage character and strong academic performance within your role?
My character was not the greatest as a young man. I dealt with having a bad temper, and a bad attitude. That’s one of the main reasons why my playing career was cut short—because I didn’t know when to shut my mouth. I stress to my students and players that the only person who can stop you from being a success is the person you look at in the mirror each day. We spend so much time blaming other instead of taking the time needed to self-reflect, be your worst critic, and truly realize that changes need to be made in order to go to higher levels as a person. I knew that my education was permanent and my NFL career was seasonal—it could change in the blink of an eye, but my college education will never be taken away. It’s a permanent investment.
What would you say are the greatest challenges working with today’s youth?
The greatest challenges working with youth today is getting them to trust you. The youth today need to trust that you truly care. If they trust you, they will hear you. If they hear you, they will soon begin to listen to you. Once they listen, you can begin to get them to respect you. Once the respect is there, you can begin the teaching process. Getting our youth to respect us is another challenge that we struggle with today.
Despite these challenges, what are some strengths you see within youth and their families?
The families that I’ve had the opportunity to sit, observe, and even converse with, really care about their children. They want them to be successful and are willing to do anything to make sure that their children are being placed in the best position to be successful.
How do you feel about the limited presence of black males within the New Orleans school system and what steps can be made, if any, to increase the presence?
There is an abundant need for the black male presence in the New Orleans school system and community. Because of the limited male presence in the black household, the demand is far higher in the school system. More non-teaching positions need to be made available for black males in the school system. There should also be seminars or clubs in place that males should be required to attend. A stronger push for positive black male figures to come in and mentor should also be a focal point.
Does the limited presence result in greater pressure for you to perform your role? If so, how do you manage the pressure?
I don’t think the limited presence results in a greater pressure within my role, however, I do think the margin of error is much smaller. I have to make sure that the daily interactions I’m having with our youth are meaningful and targeting the areas that most of our black male youth are struggling with.
What commitment can you make to continue to motivate our male youth during a time where society’s portrayal of black males is perpetuated by high incarceration and death?
I think I’ve committed myself and my life thus far to help motivate our youth. I commit to keep teaching and directing them in their everyday decision-making processes. I will coach them on how to make the right decisions and how to react when faced with adversities.
What would you like your students to remember most about you? What will your legacy be?
I would like my students to remember that I not only cared about them as football players but as my children. I was more concerned with them being successful in life than succeeding on the field.