Atlanta 3rd grader dresses up as his favorite author: his homeroom teacher

Joe Freeman wrote, “Black male educators Matter! Black authors matter!” on social media.

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - We all remember that one teacher who changed our lives. One student at Morris Brandon Elementary School made sure his teacher knew how much he meant to him.

”He is a really inspiring teacher,” said 8-year-old Luke Perry.

Luke could dress up as any author for Book Character and Author Day at school. He knew exactly who he wanted to be.

“He is really good at teaching us. He is always trying to get us ready for 4th grade,” said Luke.

Luke dressed up as his homeroom teacher, Joe Freeman! He had his outfit down to a science; he wore a tan suit, a bald cap and a pocket square, just like Freeman.

Mr. Freeman, as the kids call him, is a 20-year educator and a firm believer in the power of mentoring.

“I make every child feel heard, feel seen. That has been the goal since the beginning for me,” said Freeman.

In addition to connecting with his kids in his classroom, Freeman has started a children’s book series.

“The first one deals with self-esteem, the second one deals with friendship, the third one deals with a child who is autistic,” said Freeman.

He also started a STEM-focused after-school program.

”Now, there is a waiting list for our program where we are doing robotics and engineering,” said Joe.

Joe has been focused on connecting with kids his entire career. For him, Luke’s Book Character and Author Day outfit was a reminder that his work is making an impact.

”Because of the mentorship, because I am in the building, because I teach, I am in education, because I write books; it allows me to be in front of these kids that sometimes don’t look like me, don’t sound like me, don’t have my background, but they can see themselves in me,” said Joe.

Sawyer Buccy

Sawyer Buccy

Sawyer Buccy is a reporter for Atlanta News First, Atlanta. She comes to Atlanta from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she told community-focused stories of resilience.