For Chambers Feature: Patrice R. Jenkins - Black Teacher Magic

By Jacob A. English

For Chambers Features highlights the journeys of folx in our community. They are willing (and brave enough) to offer an authentic account of where they are in their journey.

We hope that a peek into their journey will help you along your own.

Next Up - Educator and Disney Superfan, Patrice R. Jenkins.

Check out her story below! 

Introduce yourself, and tell us about your path to where you are today.

My name is Patrice R. Jenkins, and I have been an educator for over 15 years. Throughout the course of my career, I have been blessed to educate and inspire students ranging from Pre-K to eighth grade.

Patrice - Read Aloud for Dear Black Boy by Martellus Bennett, 2020

On social media, you use the handle @talesofpattypepper. What is the significance of the name? 

My Instagram handle means two things: my nickname is Patty Pepper, and my adventures in teaching signify my tales in the classroom. So, I came up with Tales of Patty Pepper.

Tales of Patty Pepper Instagram account, 2021

You have an extensive education career. What led you to teach?

I started my teaching career with the desire to be a music teacher because I wanted to utilize my music scholarship that I received in undergrad. Once I entered the music program, I realized I don't have to be a musician or music teacher to reach my students. So, I changed my major to just elementary education, and I have no regrets.

COVID-19 has changed the nature of teaching and learning. How has teaching changed for you? How has learning changed for your students? What has been your biggest challenge?

That's a good question for sure! The first big change was leaving a school I had been at for the past three years to pursue a new role as a virtual teacher. My biggest challenge has been starting the new year with students I had no history with and trying to teach multiple grades in one day. I am thankful I have been able to adapt to all the new changes and that my students are resilient as well.

Tales of Patty Pepper YouTube Channel, 2020

In 2018, you were selected by Good Morning America to travel with Ginger Zee for a seven-day trip across the globe where y’all visited all six Disney resorts: Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Um, what?! That’s amazing. We need details, friend. How did this all come about and describe the experience? 

WHAT A MAGICAL experience that Disney adventure was! I can't even believe that happened to ME!

So, it started when I began a Disney Community Teacher Page on Facebook during the summer of 2018. The page was for all Disney teachers who love Disney! The purpose of the page was to grow a community of fellow Disney Teachers and to promote the building and cultivation of educators who want to share ideas and experiences that they have in the classroom. I have always loved Disney, and part of my dreams came true when I got married with Mickey in attendance and honeymooned there in the summer of 2017.

Fast forward a year later when a Good Morning America producer found my page and reached out to me via Facebook Messenger inquiring about my love for Disney and all of my Disney themed outfits. Two days pass by, and then the producer asks me to send photos of my Disney journey. That wasn't hard since we all know I AM A HUGE FAN!!! I sent the producer over 150 photos and, at that point, was told I was 1 out of thousands of teachers they were looking to give a HUGE SURPRISE to!

The surprise was to celebrate Mickey's upcoming 90th Birthday around every Disney Park in the world!!!!!!!! Yes, the World!!! I received a call from GMA letting me know I was a FINALIST and if selected as one of three teacher finalists, I'd expect to be surprised on November 9th during the school day where Good Morning America would come live and tell me if I'm going on this once in a lifetime adventure!! It was a time I WILL NEVER forget, and I am so blessed that I was chosen!

Patrice on Good Morning America, 2018, Credit: Good Morning America

You have been described as a Disney superfan. If anyone has looked at your website and social media pictures, they will know immediately that you are definitely a real-life Disney Princess. When did this love for Disney start?

Yes, I absolutely LOVE Disney! I'd say it started when I was around 8 years old. My parents loved Disney also, and as a family, we watched movies and listened to records.

Patrice and Patty the Muppet, 2020

And, of course, you are more than a teacher. What do you do outside of the classroom for fun?

I try not to let teaching consume me, but I love all things hair, fashion, and sharing my love for God. I run a talesofpattypepper education page and my personal page patty.pepper where I post hair videos, collabs with other brands, and lifestyle!

Now, let’s jump to fashion and style. How would you describe your style?

I am definitely one who likes to dabble in vintage dresses, outfits, and colors! I have always been into fashion and hair!

What do you like most about For Chambers?

Patrice wearing her For Chambers Logo Shirt, 2021

I absolutely LOVE your desire to be the change and to be different no matter what anyone else is doing around you. I can relate to this message oh so much! We are in a society where people are changing the face of being REAL, and everything seems to be an ad of some kind on social media. For Chambers has a message to be yourself. I respect this so much!

Your daily teaching motto is, “Be the educator who decides to GO FOR IT.” Based on your life experiences, what advice do you have for folks trying to get an idea off the ground or starting a new chapter in their life?

Always trust in God and trust in the power of who you have become. Do not let the cares and troubles of this world take you away from your purpose. Self-reflect daily and remember it's okay to edit yourself in preparation for a better version of what God will have you to do.

Instagram: @talesofpattypepper


YouTube: Tales of Patty Pepper

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