Great news has reached us that one of our very own Playmakers – Dwayne Nunez – has been awarded the 2012 Emerging Professional Award by Men Teach of New England! This award honors male teachers in the early education field in New England who are making valuable contributions in their classrooms and in their communities. Dwayne will receive his award this month at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children.
An early education teacher in Boston Public Schools (BPS) since 2008, Dwayne has made it his personal mission to create joyful, loving, empowering, and creative classrooms where children are nurtured to reach their full potential. Not only does he incorporate this approach into gross motor play activities with children in the classroom, in the gym, and outside on the playground, he also weaves it into his curriculum delivery as well. For example, Dwayne encourages his students to make up creative movements, such as a kick or arm-thrust into the air, to match syllables as they break down words during a phonological awareness exercise.
This infusion of physical movement and fun into the teaching of a critical literacy concept keeps the children actively engaged and improves their learning retention. It also leads to peals of laughter that spill out into the hallways of the Haynes Early Education Center of BPS.
Dwayne’s thoughtful, innovative methods have helped him build the kinds of transformative relationships with his students that help them thrive and succeed in school. Even his non-instructional choices have an effect.
One day a student of his told him that there were no important people in his community. When Dwayne asked him why he thought that, the little boy replied that important people wear ties and people in his neighborhood hardly ever wear ties. Dwayne, who was from this little boy’s neighborhood, came to school the next day in a tie. He’s worn one to school every day since. Recently, one boy student, wishing to emulate his favorite teacher, marched proudly into class wearing his own tie. In small and big ways, Dwayne is setting a powerful example.
Dwayne has been a tireless supporter of the Life is good Playmakers movement since 2006. He is a dependable volunteer at every Life is good Festival. And as a part-time trainer for the Playmakers, he has shared his wisdom with other teachers and providers, most recently leading sessions as part of our February certification training for the BPS’ Behavioral Health Services. It is great to see Dwayne’s many contributions recognized with this prestigious award.
Congratulations, Dwayne, and play on!