Jesse Williams has his own unique parenting strategy as a former teacher — which his kids don’t necessarily find as fun.
“I assign my own [homework] in the same way that my dad did to me,” Williams, 42, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his partnership with Crest and Oral-B for the latest #Closing AmericaSmileGap campaign. “They have schoolwork and then they have homework, which is work that I give them that I’ve chosen for them to do to make sure they’re able to comprehend and discern what’s happening around them and articulate both internally and externally what they’re feeling and thinking.”
Williams — who shares daughter, Sadie, 9, and son, Maceo, 7, with his ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee — also shared that he has prepared his kids for back to school in a number of ways, including doing a range of workbooks.
“My kids are still in elementary school [and to see them] still be just excited about school and seeing their friends and being challenged …. It’s nice to have them somewhere where curiosity is encouraged and school is not always exciting for people,” he explained.
When it comes to challenges, Williams shares that the most important thing is giving each one of his kids their own individual time and attention.
“They are not collectively one child. They are individuals and trying to make sure you are attentive to that,” he told Us. “Just making sure you’re present in the right ways and prioritizing quality over quantity.
Before becoming a parent and a Hollywood star, Williams started teaching high school in 2002 for six years until leaving to pursue his acting career. As Williams is now a parent and has moved away from teaching, he did share he may want to venture back into the classroom eventually in some capacity.
“You know for a few years I would regularly speak and visit schools, especially universities, but that kind of died with COVID,” he explained to Us. “But I’d like to reintegrate that. I not only miss being in the classroom, I miss being a student also. You know, there are ways in the future I’ll find myself back there for sure.”
Williams is also teaming up with Crest and Oral-B to help children succeed in school. For every Crest or Oral-B product purchased from August 1 to September 30, the brands will donate oral care supplies to a child in need.
“Having up to date tools, a toothbrush and toothpaste that are effective … These are all things that we very easily, myself included, can take for granted,” he shared. “And being a student, being a young person in social and academic situations, that’s already tough enough … dealing with confidence and self-awareness and insecurity. And if you have an oral care issue, a dental issue, an orthodontic issue and aren’t able to maintain that, it’s embarrassing. It’s stressful.”
Williams adds that these are all “tangible” and “fixable” things and he’s happy to associate himself with a brand that is doing something so special.
“There’s so many turning points that I experienced in my student life. You know, one teacher, one person, one student, one moment that boosted my confidence and made me think I can actually do something instead of being terrified to even think about it,” he gushed. “So I’m really proud of the work that they’re doing and happy to join them.”