Opinions & Features December 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Azel Prather, the teacher who hosts a virtual dance party after every class to make learning easier

Ama Nunoo December 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm

December 22, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Azel Prathers is touching the young lives he teaches through dance parties after class. Photo: Azel Prathers/ VoyageATL

Being different is great and one teacher in Atlanta is using dance sessions after class, virtually, to keep his students engaged. The global pandemic has forced most schools to shut down but these kids still need an education. No wonder Azel Prather, who is engaging his students in after-class dance routines, has gone viral.

He captioned the viral post, “Happy Friday Good People! I know virtual teaching is hard, but there’s always a creative way to GET and KEEP them babies engaged!! Start ya weekend off right with some joy!

“I told yall my virtual class is lit! After we workout I let my kids get it off with some dance moves. As long as we’re moving our bodies, we’re working out! Workout videos dropping soon!”

The comments in the post that went viral show that Prather is doing something right. Many were grateful he is able to uplift these children in such unsettling times because children are confused about the new dynamics in their lives hurled onto them by the pandemic.

Prather wants them to adjust and move on the best way they can by going the extra mile to impart the lives of his pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students through dance and many more.

The 31-year-old educator and philanthropist moved to Atlanta from Glenarden, MD to pursue a career in comedy in 2015 but as fate would have it, he wound up being a teacher. He is the kind of teacher that instantaneously forms bonds with all his students because he takes the initiative of getting to know them beyond the classroom.

The kids always want to be in the online class because they know Prather will give them the spotlight to showcase their dance moves on screen after their regular exercises and the children love to be the center of the show.

“We do our dance party at the end our workouts. Kids want to be in class because they know it’s fun. They know we get to dance, be shown on the big screen, while also exercising. Sneaking the medicine in the candy,” he told BOTWC.

Prather’s work with children goes beyond the dance parties. In 2019, he set up his own non-profit, Prather Foundation. According to their site, they nurture a safe environment for children to fully blossom to their utmost potential while embracing their identity.

The Prather Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) business that aims to inspire, empower and connect the youth with purposeful programming and the commitment of devoted mentors,” Prather said.

Some of the purposeful programming ranges from hosting a self-care day, a toy drive, information resource events, back-to-school giveaways to mentorship programs, mental health workshops, food drives, among others.

The most talked-about of his children centered programs is the “Holiday Hook-up” which launched last year. It was a day set aside for self-care for 40 kindergarten students at his school in Washington, DC.

These students were catered to by nail techs, hairstylists, barbers and other volunteers who came on board to pamper these children.

This year, he is spreading the Christmas cheer as the school Santa by sourcing presents for these children through donations. So far he has given out 320 gifts and counting.

“Y’all don’t even know what it did for me!” he wrote in a message of gratitude on Instagram. “I [have] been missin’ my youngins so crazy smh Thank you to all the parents for stopping by! We gave out over 320 gifts! Big thanks to the @kippdcata team for always holding it down! Big Thank you to everybody who has donated and still donating!”

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