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FunTimes Magazine

Malary Edward Woods Jr.

Malary Edward Woods works with the school district of Philadelphia as a six-grade teacher. A graduate of Gwynedd Mercy University with a Bachelor ‘s in History and Secondary Education, and a Master’s in Education from La Salle University, Wood first worked with the School District in the Human Resource Department leading several project and compliance training.

Wood said his favorite Bible scripture is Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

How did you figure out what your passion is?

I always wondered why I could never go to my neighborhood school and why I always had to go to private schools. My mother would say “Public Schools are terrible and I want my child to have a better education”. Then I would talk to my friends that did go to public school and the things they were learning I either learned it a grade before or months before. I always said that I wanted to be a public school teacher to actually see what it’s like and how I can make a difference to allow students to have the same privileges as I did.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

I just reached a part of my journey where I am seeing and benefiting from the rewards of hard labor. I truly enjoy brightening up my student’s day. I have students that will say “I am having a rough day, but when I come to your class, your positive energy helps me get through the rest of the day”. I also love the challenges that each day bring, because when you are doing your best to not only teach the standards of the lesson, but anytime you are able to become transparent with students and actually listen to them, you will better understand who they are and will help you be that positive role model they need in their life. Black male educators and mentors are a need in this society and it is very rewarding to be both because you could be instrumental in mentoring the next doctor or even the next Black president. I am excited for the future for my students.

What else would you like to accomplish?

I would also like to one day become an administrator and eventually move into the politics of education. I believe that all students regardless of race, economic, and social status should receive the same education.

Has there been any Black role model or mentor who has inspired your vision or accomplishments thus far?

Yes, I actually have three. My current boss, Eric Langston and my mentor, Frank Smart. Both of these men have been involved in my life for quite some time and I am forever grateful and indebted to them for their hard work. I know I was annoying at times especially when they told me to do what was right and I did my own thing. These two made it their business to make sure I was on task and did not lose focus. They are not only my role models and mentors, but they have become close friends of mine. I truly appreciate them.

My pastor and step-father Ricky A Rivera Sr, is a phenomenal pastor! Yes, he is hard on me, but it is for a purpose! He sees something in me and he continues to plant seeds and nurture them. When he feels that I have too much free time on my hand, he will stop me and ask me “What are you doing with school? What are your goals? What are you working towards?” This is basically like grounding me to actually think and complete a self-evaluation of my life and make sure that I am on the right path.

Do you have any cultural activities or experiences that you feel have enriched your life’s journey thus far?

Growing up in the Black church has enriched my journey completely. I attended Harold O Davis Memorial Baptist church as a child. Everyone was like a big family, and everyone knew each other and pushed each other to go further in life. There were plenty of people that spent time investing into my life. My current church Mt. Sinai Tabernacle Baptist Church is presently investing in my education. These people really push me to reach my fullest potential. My church takes education so seriously that if you are not excelling in school, you will be removed from your duties until you obtain better grades.

What advice would you give to other young people beginning their careers?

Stay focused, do not give up. Anything that is easy to obtain is not worth having. Be careful of your social surroundings, if your circle is filled with people doing the same thing as you then you should seek friends that are on a higher level than you are.

What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?

People of African descent were forcefully taken from their native lands and dispersed to different areas. I believe that people should leave their native land and live freely in another country to pursue better opportunities, not to be treated as slaves.