Hands-On Teaching

Celena Miller of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD has won not one but TWO H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards in the Leadership Elementary category. This awesome ATPE member is a science lab teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary and has been teaching hands-on science to students for 11 years.
ATPE asked Miller all about what makes an educator special and more in our latest member Q&A.
What traits do great educators possess?
They are inquisitive, not afraid to try new things, lifelong learners, empathetic, and adaptive.
What do you think makes a great educator?
A great teacher knows their subject matter and is willing to offer the opportunity for students to ask “critical thinking” questions out of the parameters of the curriculum. A great teacher keeps up to date with new information and is not afraid to incorporate new learning tools into their classroom. They will supplement their lessons with materials that are engaging to make a lackluster lesson exciting. In the classroom of a great teacher, students are not kept idle, but are encouraged to learn through a range of methods that utilize all five senses. Hands-on activities and real-world situations are the learning catalyst in a classroom.
What’s new in your district and/or classroom this year?
There are great things happening at PSJA! PSJA has a very successful Early College Program, with its high schools designated as Early College. Approximately 3,500 high school students are enrolled in college courses each semester through dual and concurrent enrollment programs. At PSJA ISD all students can earn up to two years of college—free.
What’s one thing you wish someone would invent that would make your job easier?
A robot that would do all the teacher paperwork!
What’s one thing you would change about your job if money were no object?
I would be able to take the students to experience different regions so that they would be able to see all the different plant and animal adaptations.
What’s your favorite Texas vacation?
My favorite Texas vacation is South Padre Island. It is so beautiful and relaxing. It’s the perfect place to get away after a stressful week.
Share something fun about yourself.
I am a great copycat painter. 😊 And have made several paintings for family and friends.
Photo by the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards program.
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