As we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome the new year, why not take a moment to celebrate our ATPE volunteers one more time? Our volunteers make up the foundation of our association, and ATPE wouldn’t be the largest community of Texas public school educators if not for our volunteers.
That’s why we started the ATPE Volunteer of the Month program. Nominees for Volunteer of the Month are those who go above and beyond the call of duty in their commitment to ATPE and public education—volunteers who exhibit outstanding leadership and tireless efforts. And with that, it’s time to introduce the December 2019 Volunteer of the Month, Christina Flores of Belton ATPE! Christina is the director of curriculum, instruction, and accountability in Riesel ISD and has been an ATPE member for 13 years.
Why did you choose ATPE?
I chose ATPE because I worked with a teacher, Larry Davis, across the hall who spoke to me about the benefits of joining. We talked a lot about the organization over the course of the next few weeks, and I decided to join. He then asked me to think about being an officer, and I was hooked with my first visit to Leader U and ATPE Summit experience.
What made you want to be an educator?
I was a great student who would take notes, not ask questions, go home, and memorize my notes. This is what worked to keep an A in my classes, but I didn’t really learn anything. When I was little, I remember playing school with my cousin where I was always the teacher. When I entered my senior year in high school, I decided to major in math because I knew math was hard for me. What really inspired me to become a math teacher was I didn’t want this experience for future students and wanted to show them a different side of math.
What is the most important thing you wish someone had told you when you started out in your career?
It is normal to feel like your head is barely above water. With lesson plans, grading, phone calls, and creating engaging lessons, it’s OK to feel this way. You are doing a lot. Give yourself some credit. Stay positive, and your hard work will pay off.
What’s one thing you wish someone would invent that would make your job easier?
I believe everyone wants the secret to standardized tests in a system where learning standards have been pushed down from one grade level to the next. More importantly, I’d like to be able to teach in a system where students are able to be engaged with the learning occurring in the classroom and not teaching to the test.
Share your favorite moment as an educator.
I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing students, and it’s hard to name a single moment. When I served as an assistant principal, I dealt with the same students frequently. A particular student and I talked a lot about his actions, and it ultimately resulted in an alternative placement. I visited him daily to keep him on track to graduate, helping him with his assignments when I visited because he was not passing many classes when he was sent over. As the school year ended, he came down to my office to show me a project that he had dedicated to me, saying he would not be graduating without my support. I cried big, ugly tears.
Share something fun about yourself.
I am always up for an adventure. Whether it is jumping in a plane to explore somewhere new or jumping off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, I am ready to try something new.
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