Call him a 'Mister': From kindergarten to college, leader grows passion for building teachers
Apr 17, 2017
Anthony Broughton says he will always be a “Mister.”
The director of Claflin’s Call Me Mister since January 2017 said taking over the program at the Orangeburg university was a natural progression for him. Call Me Mister recruits male minority students to take on jobs as K-8 teachers upon graduation.
“I’m always going to be a Mister,” Broughton said.
He is proud of his completion of Call Me Mister as an undergraduate college student and his lifetime mission as a “Mister.”
He even refers to himself as “Mister Dr. Anthony Broughton.”
A Mister is a student who becomes a part of the Call Me Mister program that originated in 2000 at Claflin, Benedict, Morris and South Carolina State. It is run from Clemson University.
Call Me Mister is today a part of the teacher education programs at 20 institutions in South Carolina and is expanding to other states.Minorities in the program are predominantly black males, but others are eligible, including white males, because men are in the minority as teachers, Broughton said. In schools at present, 75 percent of teachers are white females.
The program produces graduates – “Misters” – with a commitment to improving education and a passion for teaching, Broughton said. “I think we have the most innovative teaching.”
“If you see a Mister in action, it will move you,” he said. “The passion comes from wanting to make a difference.”
The Claflin Call Me Mister program has 10 students. More would be ideal but the funding is only there for from 10-15, with about 25 percent of enrollees on each level from freshman to senior. The program provides funding toward tuition, book support and stipends for upperclassmen. Misters engage in leadership activities, meet twice a week and follow an individualized education plan.
The success rate is nearly 100 percent, Broughton said. Nearly all Misters move into teaching and remain there.
At age 30, Broughton brought significant experience to Claflin, where he became an assistant professor of early childhood education in the fall 2016 semester.
He is a graduate of Cross High School, Benedict College, Columbia College with a master’s degree in divergent learning and the University of South Carolina with a doctorate in early childhood education at age 29.He became a part of Call Me Mister at Benedict as a freshman. “The program inspired me to be myself.”
He taught as a fourth-grade teacher for a year in 2009 in Allendale County, where he said he gained an appreciation for what all students can do.
Allendale schools are belittled as poor, but that is an “uncorroborated manipulation of information,” Broughton said. "The children there are not failures."
“I loved Allendale,” he said.
But the call to return to Benedict and Columbia brought Broughton back to the Benedict College Child Development Center – to teach kindergarten. He said the experience was among the most rewarding things he has ever done.
“It was a bold move,” Broughton said. “I was the first male teacher they would ever have.”
Some parents really saw the need for a male figure to be in the lives of the children, he said. After the kindergarten experience at Benedict, Broughton took over as 4-K regional coordinator for the S.C. Department of Education, making sure teachers in rural school districts were upholding the state standards.
“I had a blast doing that. I was familiar with what they should know in kindergarten,” he said. He also taught at Anderson University in Anderson for a year before the Claflin opportunity.
“I deem myself a visionary … I want to be a part of that vision,” said Broughton, whose mother is a Claflin alumna. He is also a United Methodist minister, giving him a natural connection with UMC-affiliated Claflin.
Coming to the university “was a big honor,” Broughton said.
He has used his musical talent as part of the educational process. “I’m a very musical, artistic person.”
Broughton has produced two children’s CDs, both teaching the alphabet via the use of music. His video on You Tube has more than 200,000 views.
He said he is accustomed to questions about his motives as a man wanting to be in early childhood education.
“You block out the negativity,” he said.
The article is a reprint from the TimesandDemocrat and the Panther Newspaper www.claflin.edu/news-events/the-panther.