By Justin Mendez
As a lower house English teacher, Lucas Johnson is somewhat of an enigma. He defies convention in a way that is both easily digestible and simplistic, yet innovative and iconic. His unique teaching style is amplified through Harvest’s open and welcoming environment. He says at Harvest “I felt like I could be the kind of teacher I wanted to be.”
One example of this freedom comes in the form of Harvest Hip Hop Heads. An after school club formed by Lucas, members “discuss, analyze, and listen to hip hop.” They even connect it to larger social issues. The combination of pop culture and learning is a genius concept, that only someone who has their fingers on the pulse could create. So it’s not surprising that Lucas is able to flawlessly draw inspiration from both old and new school hip hop, as well as traditional learning in order to create something so that’s true to him, but accessible to students as well. Lucas says that “connecting with the kids in a way that is meaningful” is an important goal of his, and Harvest Hip Hop Heads is helping him achieve it.
Lucas is a leader and professional in his field. He has rebelled against what was expected of him, while simultaneously creating a lane for himself in which others are sure to follow. In particular, he’s had to struggle with breaking away from the societal pressures and cultural baggage that comes with being a young, black, male teacher. In his experience, men of color who teach “are expected to be hyper masculine role models that teach black boys how to conform to a certain form of masculinity.” Lucas has no intention of including himself in that narrative. As he puts it “that’s just not me.”