New Caney High School Teacher of the Year
Special Education teacher/Case Manager
8 years of experience
Texas A&M University & Lamar University
Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science & Master’s of Education in School Counseling
Why did you choose education as your career?
I have always had a passion for helping kids overcome the struggles of life and reach their potential. Prior to working in education, I volunteered as a summer youth horse camp counselor, where I particularly enjoyed working with teenagers. Following my college graduation, I began working in the finance industry and quickly found that the most enjoyable aspects of my job included my interactions with people and providing customer service. I decided to pursue a career in education, specifically Special Education, because I hoped to foster a drive in young people to meet their challenges head-on and strive for success in anything they pursue. Working at the high school level was a perfect fit because it provided the opportunity to work with my favorite age group, teenagers!
What is your key to success in the classroom?
The key to success in my classroom is the development of a safe and welcoming environment which allows students to explore their abilities without fear of judgment or failure. I believe this is one of the biggest and most important contributing factors to successful student learning. In the classroom, I highlight the fact that everyone makes mistakes, even the teacher, and how you move forward and learn from that experience is what determines your success. I try to lead by example and demonstrate kindness, respect and determination to keep reaching, even when faced with challenges.
How do you engage students?
I believe student engagement comes from perception of success. When I can help students draw from and focus on the skills and concepts they already possess, it cultivates the necessary confidence to try something new. Working in special education has afforded me the opportunity to work with students who often lack confidence in their ability to be successful in the classroom. I always begin by showing them what they already know, then build on that as a motivator to try new things. It is so rewarding to watch students find assurance in their own abilities which naturally creates engagement in all learning because they begin to see their personal potential.
What do you love about teaching?
Despite the fact that teaching is often exhausting and challenging, there are few things that can compare to the rewarding feeling of watching your student walk across the stage at graduation. As a Special Education case manager, I have the privilege of following students through high school and watching them grow from little 9th graders into 12th grade young adults. Serving as a case manager is what I love most about my job as a Special Education teacher because I get to build relationships with kids and their families and help them uncover their potential for success during those four years in high school. Over the years, I have helped numerous students become the first in their family to graduate and the pride conveyed on the day they walk across the stage is insurmountable. Helping students cultivate their strengths and overcome their challenges in order to reach personal goals is what I love most about teaching.