Nathaniel Green’s classroom is fueled on inclusivity and community.
Green started his career teaching English in South Korea. Now, he is a middle school social studies teacher at Newport High School (Newport Independent).
“Relationships are at the center of my beliefs as a teacher,” he said. “Community and a culture of health, peace and lifelong learning define my classroom.”
Green helps with many extracurricular activities, including founding Newport Strong, a running and fitness club open to students, families and staff. He has collaborated with local gyms and used grant funds to expand the exercise equipment for the participants.
“It has grown into a club that is open to anyone – students, parents and staff – of any fitness level. (It is) designed to make fitness accessible to all,” he said.
In 2016, Green collaborated with students to create the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network club for students at Newport High School to serve as a safe space for students and to promote inclusiveness.
“I remain supremely dedicated to creating spaces where the students feel safe experiencing school, especially when there may be obstacles present.” he said.
Green also is well known for his YouTube series, “Coffee with Mr. Green.” Through these videos, he gives lessons on topics like compassion and kindness.
Green uses numerous strategies in the classroom to make his students feel more connected to learning, including using resources such as the musical “Hamilton.” In 2016, he and his wife painted his classroom gold and black, down to the outlet covers and speakers, to engage his students in a new way. They listened to rap music, analyzed lyrics and “compared historical figures as holistic, imperfect humans,” he said.
This type of approach to learning is nothing new to Green, said one of the people who recommended him for the 20203 Teacher of the Year program. He was named a 2023 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winner at the middle school level.
“Nate has mastered the art of rallying students to want to learn, to strive for excellence, to walk with confidence and kindness and to persevere through life,” they wrote. “He can reach struggling students with his nurturing instincts and empathy and can challenge the brightest of his student because of the professional yet relatable techniques. He offers love, grace and acceptance with everyone he interacts with.”
Green said he just wants to be a model for his students and make connections with them.
“My wife and I love going to the plays and getting the students to sign the program,” he said. “I love screaming at the top of my lungs at sporting events, waiting for my students to give me that eye roll or head nod. I can also claim to have one of the loudest claps in Newport, Ky. It only gets louder when I am applauding the accomplishments of my students.“