Some students in West Philadelphia made it a point to make the most of every moment they have with their beloved teacher.
Teachers are indeed superheroes. They have an everlasting impact on the lives of their students, not just through imparting knowledge but also as role models, mentors, and advocates. They work tirelessly through long hours, including weekends and evenings, to ensure their students receive the best education possible. These unsung heroes often get left behind or unforgotten, but some students in West Philadelphia are making the most of every moment they have with their beloved teacher, Arnold Ford. Per CBS News, Ford is the vice principal and teacher at Mastery Charter Mann Elementary and is devoted to spreading the culture of love and positivity for the students, which is very much reciprocated.
In a now-viral video shared on TikTok by (@wooder_ice), students at Mann Elementary can be seen rushing toward Ford to hug him whenever they spot him in the corridors or the classroom. In the first few seconds of the video, a child is seen walking in the hallway when he spots Ford sitting on the bench just a few feet away. The child bolts toward Ford and launches into his arms, and the duo shares a heartwarming embrace. The 48-second video also shows two girls in a classroom walking up to Ford and hugging him, instilling the value of love and affection. The third shot shows two boys running to Ford in a busy hallway, moments before Ford puts one of them over his shoulder with the other walking from under his arm.
The video went viral during Teacher's Appreciation Day in early May, and Ford could not have been prouder of highlighting the importance of spreading love and kindness at Mann Elementary. "My goal is to make sure they know I see them," vice principal Arnold Ford said. "And that I love them." If you visit the school on a busy day, you will find Ford engaging in hugs, handshakes with his students, or making phone calls to parents. Ford says this is just a part of his job as an educator. "Before we teach math, before we teach reading we teach kids, we teach souls," Ford said. "You got to start with love and love is the curriculum."
In December 2022, Ford started posting candid videos of his interactions with students to his Instagram page, which made him amass over 31,000 followers. "Interacting with kids does something to me," Ford said. "Gives me life." While many students and parents hope to have teachers like Ford in their schools, he wants to dispel the misconception of "My kids had no teachers like that in school." "I've been in education for a long time and I know that in every single school, there are educators just like this," Ford said. "I had teachers that spoke life into me I had teachers that believed in me, that saw things in me that I at the time didn't see in myself. So this is just my job to kind of pay it forward."
You're witnessing a Black man’s love and how it affects our children. Thank you King; representation matters! ✊🏾👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/XLD9vqinaR— Kenny Akers (@KeneAkers) May 24, 2023
The viral TikTok made the headlines and was soon flooded with comments from many people appreciating Ford spreading the world of love among his students and in his school. "When I say teachers don’t get paid enough- THESE are the teachers I’m talking about. The ones that build a connection with their students," said @pearledbluntsss. "They gonna remember him forever, teachers like this deserve the world," shared @sia2fed. "Love this! You don’t know how many kids come from homes with no hugs & love so this probably means everything to them," wrote @luv_rah. "My daughter loves him and calls him her second dad. He’s phenomenal!! Entire school! Love Mastery Mann!!," added @audrisbradley.