My season in Alief is coming to a close. It truly is bittersweet. In the short four years that I’ve been working there, I’ve met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences. I want to reflect a little with some highlights.
My colleagues have made Taylor like family. I will miss them dearly. From the World Languages Departments across the district to Taylor HS, we truly work together to accomplish what needs to be done.
Dora Ortega has done a phenomenal job of leading our department. She works extremely hard putting together programs and activities that will benefit the students now and for years to come. My other colleagues are all so supportive and caring. There truly isn’t enough space here to tell about how wonderful they are.
To all the Assistant Principals that I’ve worked with: thank you for your support to make me a better educator. I appreciate your encouragement and constructive feedback. And, to my principal Ms. Williams: you believed in me and provided an encouraging environment for me to become the best educator I could be.
An interesting note about one of my colleagues is that she was a former high school classmate; we took Spanish together. We served on the Shared Decision-Making committee. There were some things I asked her about her high school experience that, based upon her responses, helped bring some healing to me. I can’t go into details because I don’t want to put any particular person/teacher down on the internet, but working with her was a blessing to me.
The students at Alief Taylor taught me about life. You may have listened in disbelief to a teacher say that he/she learned so much from their students. I can say with certainty that my students taught me a tremendous amount about life and helped shape me into a better educator.
The things they taught me about life come from the ways the students interacted with each other. They supported and cared for each other, stayed friends even after big arguments, and had a confidence that they could make it in life regardless of their circumstances. A phrase that they put up on a poster in the main hallway said:
Life is tough, but we are tougher.
They also taught me what I was capable of. The truth is that my first year was extremely difficult. I had to look my professional teaching self in the mirror and ask myself if there wasn’t a better way to handle difficult situations. There was.
Through much practice, day in and day out, I learned that I was much more capable of controlling my temper. I saw that my response to students can and should be controlled even if on the inside I’m about to go crazy. The reason this new picture made sense to me was because the best chance of deescalating the situation and changing the student’s behavior is by remaining calm. As a take away, (and I honestly don’t remember where this came from…probably a training that I went to) I started telling my students,
It’s not what happens to you that’s MOST important, but how you respond.
I’m thankful for the opportunities that Katharine Garcia gave me to present to the World Languages teachers. I had a blast doing the presentation on technology. I was hoping that I could do something with the new textbook adoption that she so awesomely led.
I don’t exactly remember who told us to read The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, but I read it and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I bought more books that he had written. His books have been inspirational to me in a number of ways; I highly recommend them.
Alief U (every teacher has 3 years of training in this program) was a great experience. The trainers in Alief U did an excellent job of making the training meaningful One training in particular was when there were two trainers who were tag teaming the presentation. They were so funny and interacted with the teachers in attendance that we all went back to our classrooms refreshed and motivated; I’ll never forget that training.
Oddly enough, working at Taylor put me in a perfect location to pick my kids up after school each day and made it easy to get on Westpark Toll Road so I could go to class and finish seminary. I couldn’t have chosen a better location.
I will miss Taylor High School. I want to say that I’m grateful for the friendships and memories that I’ve made along the way and wish you all nothing but the best. May you all continue to pursue the basis of everything we did each and every day:
Meaningful work, meaningful relationships