Oakland, Calif., middle school teacher Donovan Taylor Hall has a goal of becoming Mister Rogers for the 21st century. “Mr. Donovan,” as he is known by his students, tells his students every day that he loves them and likes who they are. He is a teacher in a charter school in Oakland that serves underprivileged students of color, teaching seventh-graders things like coping with stress and anxiety, showing gratitude and how to love themselves. His unconventional approach is the result of his own struggles with self-acceptance in his youth; he wished an adult would tell him, “I see you, and I’m here for you.” So now he is that voice for his students and he is taking message beyond his classroom through TikTok videos. He plans to work on a bigger scale and is setting up a home studio to make inspirational videos for kids.

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