Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the teacher, educator, and viral video star, Jonte Lee.
Mr. Jonte Lee has been teaching STEM in DC Public Schools for eight years. Before becoming a high school teacher, he worked in the corporate sector as a marketing specialist. His first call to teaching was when he volunteered for the Big Brother Big Sister program while working in the private sector. There he would read to his little brother twice a week. He liked it so much that he sought out to become a teacher. He first taught college in the school of business part-time while still working in corporate America. He discovered the joy of teaching and wanted to do it full time.
Through Ready To Teach, an alternative teaching certification program at Howard University, he earned his teaching license. Through teaching, he found his life’s passion. He cannot see himself doing anything else. He enjoys making meaningful connections with students and pushing them academically forward. His greatest joy is seeing them grapple and learn a concept.
When the pandemic turned in-person learning virtual for the students at a Washington, D.C. high school, one chemistry teacher didn’t take long to get creative with his lessons. Jonte Lee’s turned his kitchen into a chemistry lab and used his own money to buy and deliver supplies for his 35 students—then he got to teach. He became known as The Kitchen Chemist, and his videos have since gone viral with schoolchildren across America.
Jonte Lee was honored on “Good Morning America ” during National Teacher’s Day. He’s been highlighted by Amazon as one of their “Regular Heroes.” He and countless other teachers have stepped up big-time during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Jonte’s passion for learning shines through his viral videos, and the man turned his kitchen into a makeshift chem lab. He’s cooking up lessons for his students and students across the nation. Folks are always welcome to check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media.
Here is Jonte Lee in his own words on reflecting on being a teacher during the pandemic:
This pandemic has fortified several things: Four walls do not limit a teacher. We can teach anywhere and anytime. Teachers do not teach to the brain of the student but the whole student. We interact with their past, present, and future experiences. Teachers provide stability in their students’ lives. Teachers have a deep investment in the success of the student. Students want to learn, grow, and achieve greatness, even during difficult times, and this is the part where we come in as teachers.
We wish Jonte Lee continue success as he shares his zest for teaching and expanding young minds. We hope Jonte Lee continues to be an inspiration and getting kids excited about science. Today we honor Jonte Lee as our Evolved Man of Week.