THE PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER, A QUARTERLY STATISTICAL SUMMARY

It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. For that, we would like to highlight the outstanding work teachers do for our students.

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We hope khổng lồ demonstrate how teachers significantly impact the lives of students & their families, often in ways others can’t understand. This year, teachers have cheerfully risen up to lớn carry new burdens, acting as nurses, IT consultants, social workers & much more.

Below are Q&As from some of our teachers at area school districts.

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Stephanie HowardCanyon Pointe Elementary (Tomball ISD)Teacher for 18 years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

All my life, I have enjoyed working with younger children. I was the neighborhood babysitter, the lifeguard who gave swim lessons and even taught high school drill team for a few years while in college.

My true passion is in kindergarten, being able khổng lồ teach them and experience many of their “firsts” — first time to lớn read, write, count, tie their shoes and lose a tooth!

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

With the pandemic, I have come khổng lồ see that these kiddos need more than just a teacher. They need someone khổng lồ make sure they have had their breakfast, give them a hug at any given moment và listen khổng lồ what is most important in their lives at this time. They need to lớn know that they can count on me for anything. Communication with the parents is crucial because they are unable to come on campus; therefore, virtual meetings or facetime calls are necessary. The job doesn’t over at 4:10 p.m. Parents know they can reach out to me anytime day or night.

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

The sweet smiles on my students’ faces keep me motivated. The hugs và “I-love-yous” keep me going daily. The grace and tư vấn I receive from my administrators play a HUGE part in keeping me motivated, as well. Without their guidance, I would feel helpless.

Q: What’s one thing you’d lượt thích everyone to lớn know about teaching?

It is truly not a job when it is something you love. I love that I get to lớn go lớn work with these kiddos every day. I love that I get to be their teacher. I love that I get lớn lay the foundation for their future school years.

Q: What are you looking forward to as the school year comes to an end & the next school year begins to lớn take shape?

As the school year comes khổng lồ an end, I look forward to lớn the many years that I will watch my kindergarteners grow up. I look forward lớn the ones that still walk down the hallway khổng lồ give me a hug. I look forward khổng lồ watching my very first kindergarteners graduate from high school this year!

I always look forward to lớn the summertime but not for what you might think; I look forward to lớn using the time to lớn better educate myself lớn prepare me for the next year. I am always thinking, “What can I vày better next year?” or “What can I vì to make sure my students are engaged & love coming khổng lồ school?”

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Jessica Fritsche, M.Ed.Brenham Junior High School (Brenham ISD)Teacher for 3 years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

Romans 12:6-7 talks about the gifts God has given lớn each of us: the ability khổng lồ serve, teach, encourage, give, lead và show kindness. If we have these gifts, then we are lớn use them & use them well. What better way lớn use these gifts than khổng lồ become a teacher? My parents embody this bible verse, raised me on the principle of leading by example & blessed my life in such a way that I just have lớn pay it forward. There are some kids who are growing up without a huge tư vấn system in their lives, & I want lớn not only be that for them, but teach them how khổng lồ be that for somebody else. I want to lớn foster a sense of belonging and confidence for my kids — the same as my parents & teachers did for me. It is my mission lớn serve, teach, encourage, give, lead and show kindness khổng lồ every single student that walks into my classroom. My hope is that they feel loved và valued, & that one day, they will use these gifts khổng lồ pay their blessings forward when they achieve everything they phối their minds to!

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

The pandemic has forced me to lớn be more intentional with the time that I have with my students. After last year ending so abruptly, I’ve learned lớn be prepared for anything and everything, while still making each day count. In these unprecedented times, students need more than the basic nội dung and curriculum. They need a support system, cheerleader, teammate, counselor and the ability khổng lồ just be a kid. Between maintaining a safe and sanitary classroom và creating engaging, effective lessons, teachers have gone above and beyond to lớn provide for their students this year. Educators have answered the hotline to establish a social learning environment in the midst of masks & social distancing not only with their face-to-face students, but also with their remote learners. After adapting lessons & activities khổng lồ actively engage students learning from home, the term “tech-savvy” should now be listed at the đứng top of every teacher’s resume! Being intentional with the time you have with your students allows you to lớn recognize & be whatever your kids need you lớn be for them that day. Teachers have had to wear many new hats this year, but one hat that nothing — not even a pandemic — can change is the relationship-builder hat!

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

That’s easy: my kids và the constant tư vấn from my fellow teachers! Growing up, I was often told this quote: “When your why has heart, your how grows legs.” Basically, if you want something bad enough, then give it your all and you will figure out a way to make it happen. This pandemic has definitely pushed every teacher khổng lồ focus on their “why.” As a result, every teacher has given their heart to this profession this year because our “why” is khổng lồ love and serve our kids. I think the pandemic has provided teachers with a bigger opportunity to serve our students. With so many uncertainties on a day-to-day basis, our kids really needed some consistency và normalcy, so our “how” grew legs & we made this school year happen.

Q: What’s one thing you’d lượt thích everyone khổng lồ know about teaching?

Teaching is about more than what we say, rather it’s how we act. Our students might not always be listening, but they are always watching và looking to lớn us for guidance. How teachers treat others, handle difficult situations & carry themselves is constantly being picked up by our students. While the content and curriculum are an important aspect, the opportunity lớn lead by example is where a teacher makes the biggest impact.

Q: What are you looking forward lớn as the school year comes khổng lồ an end & the next school year begins lớn take shape?

I am most looking forward to recognizing all of the hard work my students have done this year given the circumstances. Teachers và students could have let this pandemic get in the way of so much (or cause a defeated mentality), but instead we faced each new challenge head on with heart & determination. Now, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t rough days throughout the year, but I’m excited khổng lồ see how the daily adaptations made by every single teacher impacts where we take the education system next!

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Eboni HaynesSheldon Elementary (Sheldon ISD)Teacher for 3 years (10+ years in the education field)

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I spent a few years as a substitute teacher và realized the role black women played on campus and in the lives of their students. I wanted to lớn consistently be a part of that positive change. I also love reaching out to lớn students that need a little extra encouragement khổng lồ get through the day.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

Two major ways. First, the pandemic has heavily impacted students with the responsibility of logging in và staying focused when so much is going on in the world and in their lives. My day-to-day looks lượt thích a lot of checking in & making sure students have what they need khổng lồ be successful. Secondly, hybrid teaching along with all other responsibilities has taught me that I can chew gum and walk at the same time! In fact, I can teach in person, online, kiểm tra in with parents and support my students!

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

My coworkers and knowing that I’m not going through this alone. Sheldon ISD has been great at providing the support we need during this time.

Q: What’s one thing you’d lượt thích everyone to lớn know about teaching?

It’s more than just teaching a lesson; it’s shaping the minds & attitudes of individuals daily. The job requires a lot of affirming và encouraging, correcting and redirecting, reflecting & redos. It’s consistently being observed and choosing to be the best you.

Q: What are you looking forward lớn as the school year comes lớn an end and the next school year begins lớn take shape?

Vacation và new beginnings! Rest and then another year to start anew & give it all you’ve got!

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Dr. Ashley SchlaflyCreekside Park Junior High (Tomball ISD)Teacher for 8+ years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I had amazing teachers influence my decision to lớn enter the education profession, including my mother, who is one of the most incredible teachers I’ve ever seen. I learned from watching both she and others of her caliber that teaching is one of the greatest acts of service you can provide lớn your community. I knew from a young age that I wanted to lớn spend my professional life making what was around me better. Once I realized how teaching played into that, I began to explore it as a career path. What I have learned is that the reason we, as educators, are able to influence growth and positive changes in our community is because we are distributors of knowledge. We cultivate learning, và knowledge is the most powerful tool when it comes khổng lồ transforming kids và the world they are entering. It’s an awesome responsibility and one that allows us to make our collective future brighter because of the conversations, learning and growth we see throughout our nine months together.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

The pandemic has increased the need for us to lớn care of our students’ social và emotional needs, as well as our teachers. Our District has taken up the mantra of approaching the year with “grace, patience & love,” and this strategy helps remind us to lớn take time for self-care, give ourselves some grace when it comes lớn the day-to-day and be patient in understanding that this year is just different. It has also been a year where we have come together more than ever to lớn treat all students in our halls as “our” kids. It doesn’t matter who their teacher of record is, nor does it matter your role on campus. Every student is ours. This has enhanced the feeling of family và comradery.

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

Very simply, those around me. Education is a team sport. We cannot succeed without our fellow teachers, students, parents and community stakeholders beside us. We plan as a team. We work as a team. We accomplish as a team. I am lucky enough in Tomball to be surrounded by some of the most incredible educators I’ve worked with in my career. And they make me better. They keep me motivated, và they remind me that tomorrow is not just another day; it is another opportunity lớn build on what worked and get creative to fix what didn’t.

Q: What’s one thing you’d like everyone khổng lồ know about teaching?

One of my favorite quotes is by the Philosopher William James. He says, “The greatest use of a life is khổng lồ spend it for something that will outlast it.” For me, that is both the most amazing and the most frightening thing about being in education. Our influence on our students lasts for years; what we teach them extends far beyond the classroom, and their effects on us remain long after they leave. Most teachers, even after they leave the traditional classroom, can recall faces, names và anecdotes about their students. Each kiddo that passes through a teacher’s door becomes part of an extended family.

Q: What are you looking forward khổng lồ as the school year comes khổng lồ an end & the next school year begins to take shape?

The easy answer is normalcy, but I’m not sure we know what that will look like anymore. I will say I look forward lớn celebrating the successes of our new normal this year, & I hope to lớn revel in the growth I’ve seen in myself, my colleagues & the students that grace our halls. And I think, most of all, I look forward khổng lồ the work that is left to be done. There is always more we can do, more innovative ways lớn deliver curriculum, exciting opportunities to analyze our progress & new ways khổng lồ approach learning. The most exciting thing is that there are always more students coming our way. I can’t wait lớn meet them, learn from them and celebrate all we have the privilege of doing here every day. How lucky và blessed we are to get to call ourselves educators for another year!

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Greg GorneyJames Bowie Elementary School (Goose Creek CISD)Teacher for 25 years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I always wanted to lớn be a teacher growing up. I was fortunate to lớn have incredible, motivating teachers throughout my youth và wanted lớn inspire students lớn reach their maximum potential. I also enjoy being around kids, as they keep me young at heart & always smiling. I savor the challenges teaching requires, such as one must constantly be thinking on one’s feet khổng lồ ensure the class is moving in the right direction lớn reach our academic goals.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

The pandemic has created several challenges for day-to-day teaching. One such challenge has been ensuring that all students have devices and connectivity lớn attend online classes, as well as the various digital skills each scholar needed to use their devices at the start of the year. Some students were sharing devices within their family và could not attend an online class because a sibling was using the device. Holding students accountable for their learning has been a challenge. Teachers had to ‘flip the classroom” from traditional lessons with all students face-to-face pre-pandemic lớn electronic versions of lessons & handouts (accessible to lớn students online only). This was a steep learning curve.

However, some things vì not change, even during a pandemic. Building relationships with students, whether face-to-face or online, is paramount. Getting khổng lồ know each student & his/her individual needs gives teachers the ability to ensure their academic success.

 There have been times, particularly at the start of the year, when some students were not attending online classes. Teachers would call parents to inquire about their student only to lớn find out family members had COVID-19, & the news was impacting the student. Some families were trusting their young scholars to lớn complete online classes without assistance from families.

Teachers worry about their students’ & families’ welfare always, but even more so during the pandemic. Many of our scholars rely on the school lunch program khổng lồ provide needed nutrition. Bởi they have enough food at home to survive? Can someone bring them groceries? Sometimes, education can take a back seat to lớn the health & emotional needs of families.

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Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

Regardless of what is going on around us, we need to lớn move forward. I lượt thích the challenge of finding new ways to present content that reaches all my students, so they individually experience success, as well as success as a class. Students can teach me also, as they give me suggestions on how to lớn ensure electronic documents work, tips for using new apps and motivation khổng lồ persevere. The interaction between my students & myself keeps me going!

Q: What’s one thing you’d like everyone khổng lồ know about teaching?

Teachers are thankful to lớn have the opportunity và are devoted to lớn the academic achievement of their scholars. We are told to lớn “monitor and adjust” during our daily lessons, and the pandemic allowed us lớn showcase what we practice daily. We are extremely grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from our school & district leaders, families, communities & businesses. This invaluable support from all stakeholders empowers educators to lớn be creative in their lessons, which have enhanced student success và learning.

Q: What are you looking forward to as the school year comes lớn an end and the next school year begins khổng lồ take shape?

I look forward to celebrating the over of this current school year as a successful accomplishment, overcoming so many obstacles this year. The perseverance shown from students, staff & community members has been outstanding.

I look forward khổng lồ next school year beginning on time, without masks và desk shields, so students can interact và learn from their fellow peers. I look forward to lớn integrating all the technology we gained this year lớn further move students forward to reach their maximum potential. There is no challenge we cannot overcome!

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Heather KaldisBrenham Elementary School (Brenham ISD)Teacher for 16 years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I embarked on my teaching career as a mother of two children. My son was having an extremely hard time in school. He was “all boy,” with an extreme case of ADHD. He didn’t enjoy school, was in trouble all the time and hated school as early as kindergarten. I became a teacher to become an advocate, a voice, and a teacher for all children, but especially for the children who seem khổng lồ have a more challenging time in school.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

When we first began the 2020-2021 school year, we were teaching both in person & online students. This was extremely challenging. We were all doing the best that we could in a challenging situation, but it was extremely hard on me because I am my worst critic. I didn’t feel lượt thích I was able to give anyone 110 percent, which is how I teach. (I am ALL IN!) Thankfully, our district has outstanding leadership who realized how stressful this was for teachers. They quickly made adjustments that benefited all stakeholders following the first six weeks of school.

By far, the most challenging aspect of this school year has been the inability to have parents và relatives at Brenham Elementary. Building strong relationships with parents & guardians is crucial to lớn student success. That has been a HUGE adjustment for me this year. I enjoy shaking hands, hugging và sharing small talk with parents. We were unable khổng lồ have open House, holiday programs, class parties và other special events. Teaching children requires a partnership between myself và my students plus their families. The pandemic has made that more of a challenge.

Teaching during a pandemic has been a balancing act of providing a sense of normalcy to lớn students every day while at the same time ensuring I was keeping my students as safe as possible (improvising, adapting and overcoming, if you will). I had khổng lồ think through everything I did and how it could adversely affect my students. I had to lớn find creative và innovative ways to ensure my students were still active participants in their own learning.

When my kids started school, many of them were terrified that they would get sick, or they would catch the virus and bring it trang chủ to relatives. The anxiety was off the charts. Often the kids didn’t even want to lớn take their masks off to lớn drink water. I spent a great khuyễn mãi giảm giá of time answering their questions, talking & helping lớn alleviate their fears. Before I could teach them anything, they had to lớn believe they were safe. It took quite a while, but slowly, you could see the transformation as that burden was taken off their shoulders.

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

Knowing that for eight hours per day, I can provide some sense of normalcy to my students. As challenging as this time has been for adults, it seems lớn be infinitely more challenging for children. I know I am a constant in their lives. I am always there khổng lồ greet them in the mornings & hug their necks before I send them home. Every day is a new day và offers new possibilities. No matter how slow, I know we are moving in the right direction. I am motivated by my students’ smiles, personal notes of thanks, silly stories và goofy TikTok dances they want to teach me. This year, và every other year, the kids are ALWAYS my “why”!

Q: What’s one thing you’d like everyone lớn know about teaching?

Teaching is NOT state standards, high-stakes testing, lesson plans or grades. Teaching is working tirelessly to lớn build trusting relationships with every child that enters your life regardless of whether they are in your class or not. Teaching is finding the individual potential in each và every single little soul that enters your classroom. Teaching is recognizing the strengths that each child possesses và then fostering those strengths, so all children are able lớn experience success. Teaching is the hugs, high fives và smiles exchanged. Teaching is NEVER giving up, NEVER throwing in the towel, NEVER allowing a child to lớn say “I can’t!”

Q: What are you looking forward khổng lồ as the school year comes khổng lồ an end và the next school year begins khổng lồ take shape?

First, I am looking forward khổng lồ sending confident, independent 4th graders off to middle school for the next step in their educational journey. Many of my kids have indicated they are scared about the transition, as they have been at Brenham Elementary since kindergarten. This will be a big change for them, & I feel lượt thích it’s my job lớn help them feel more comfortable.

As we look forward to the new school year, I look forward lớn the possibilities a new year brings. I pray that we continue to lớn move in a forward direction in terms of the pandemic, & we are able to get back to normal (or the “new normal”). I look forward to lớn learning from new people, challenging và growing myself as an educator and working collaboratively with my team to lớn grow all children.

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Isabelle MacCrimmonStafford Middle School (Stafford MSD)Teacher for less than one year

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I wanted lớn bring my chất lượng expertise & skills to help younger generations develop critical thinking skills và develop media literacy. I think those skills are critical for success in the future.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

I don’t have anything khổng lồ compare to, since this is my first year (and what a year to lớn start teaching). However, I am seeing that students need a lot of emotional support, and they need khổng lồ learn about the resources available lớn them. It’s also been a big time-management challenge because not only vị I have khổng lồ develop my own curriculum, but I also have to translate it khổng lồ an online platform so that I can engage remote and face-to-face students at the same time. Thankfully, giải pháp công nghệ is something that comes naturally lớn me, but I know this has been a huge challenge for longtime teachers.

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

Seeing that “lightbulb” moment (i.e., that click in the student’s mind when they understand or “get it”) is what I live for. It’s so rewarding. During the pandemic, it’s also seeing the turnaround. Maybe it’s a student who was withdrawing while remote but blossoming when they return lớn face-to-face instruction. Bottom line, it’s feeling like I actually made a difference in a student’s life.

Q: What’s one thing you’d lượt thích everyone khổng lồ know about teaching?

Teaching is a work of love. It’s lượt thích hardcore parenting. It’s not just about passing on knowledge, but it’s also about shaping our future.

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Jeffrey SamABS West (Harris County Department of Education)Teacher for 22 years

Q: What made you become a teacher?

I have a strong passion for learning & sharing what I have learned with others. Upon deciding khổng lồ become a teacher, I had a good number of friends that were teachers, and I was seeing the impact that they were making on the lives of children. I discovered that I wanted a career in a field in which I could help others and teaching was a great path lớn achieve this desire.

Q: It has always been true that teachers play more than one role in their students’ lives. This has been especially true during the pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted your day-to-day job?

The pandemic brought on immense challenges that teachers have never faced before. When the pandemic started, the wonderful team at my school developed a plan for how we were going khổng lồ facilitate learning using technology. With my knowledge of various software programs, I used this knowledge to develop interactive lessons to lớn engage students online. It was amazing to see my students have the same joy for learning online as they did in the classroom. Upon returning to campus, I was assigned khổng lồ work in a classroom of autistic students that attended in person, as well as online. In order to lớn educate these students, I became knowledgeable và fluent using a dynamic Reading và Math program that was provided by the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE). I saw how these students flourished by using this program, & they exhibited a lot of joy knowing that they could vày the assignments.

Even though we were equipped with technological tools lớn connect with our virtual students, we discovered that our roles extended beyond the curriculum. Not only was I an educator, but I served as a liaison, counselor, a kind ear & a father figure by providing emotional tư vấn to students and parents that were dealing with issues related khổng lồ the pandemic. Families were struggling in various areas, which touched us all in many ways, and a lot of times, they just needed someone to lớn talk to. Mrs. Briggs, my educational aide, and I were consistent with making daily liên hệ with the parents to help provide them with information & services that could help them during this challenging time.

Q: What keeps you motivated during these challenging times?

I’ve always been a positive, optimistic person. My mission is to lớn help as many students as I can, so I keep that as my focus. Being able lớn help anyone by bringing some form of comfort assures me of peace at the closing of the day.

Q: What’s one thing you’d like everyone to lớn know about teaching?

Teaching heals the heart in more ways than one can imagine. It gives me courage to boldly walk back into the classroom again & again to lớn make a difference in a child’s world.

Q: What are you looking forward lớn as the school year comes to lớn an end and the next school year begins to take shape?

I am looking forward lớn reflecting on the challenges that were faced và how the ABS West family successfully made it through. I look khổng lồ bring more innovative methods of delivering instruction into the next school year.