by Damayanti Wallace
Kenyatta Rogers teaches students not only poetry, but the ways to navigate life. Rogers loves his what he does at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) — for him,this isn’t a just job but a place for collaboration. Many appreciate Rogers’ style of teaching and the way he interacts with his students whether they be his own or just a random passing in the hallway.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Rogers and talk about his past life and current teaching experience.
Damayanti Wallace: So, first question. What’s your favorite food?
Kenyatta Rogers: Corn beef sandwiches — no sauerkraut, rye bread, mustard, no Swiss cheese, just the meat bread and mustard.
D.W.: Wow, that’s interesting. Anything else?
K.R.: Rice, any rice. Spaghetti, sweet potato pie, ribs, barbecue, charcoal, no gas.
D.W.: What’s your favorite song right now?
K.R.: Favorite song?
D.W: Yeah, it can be right now, or ever
K.R: “Boo’d Up,” the T-Pain Remix. “Slide” by FBG Duck. “Magnolia” by PlayBoi Carti.
D.W: What’s the best part about working at ChiArts?
K.R: I have a very unique job. A friend of mine asked on Facebook, “Who really likes their job?” and I was like, “You know what, I do.” I don’t even really think of it as a job, really, it’s just I get up and go talk about poetry and writing all day and like that’s — so ideal, to talk about creative writing all day. I mean, it seems like a lot but I’d rather talk about that than anything else. And it’s close to my house — I mean, that’s just irony. That just so happens to happen like that.
D.W: If you could be doing something else, other than teaching, what would it be?
K.R: As like a job? As like to make money?
K.R: I don’t know. Believe it or not, I’ve thought about that before, like if for whatever reason, I couldn’t do this. Cause I’ve known people like to switch jobs. I have a friend now who’s going to school to be a paralegal, ya know, who’s also a writer. It would have to be something that I wouldn’t have to take home with me, whatever it is. I mean, I take papers here home with me, I read stuff at home. If I worked at a supermarket — which I did for a long time — If I worked at a lumberyard. I don’t know. I don’t think I would want to write full time though, I don’t think I could do that. I mean, it would be great, but I would get really distracted. I need something else to do. Something with bikes, maybe.
D.W: Thank you so much Mr. Rogers. We do truly appreciate you.