As the 2020-21 school year came to an end, ten Charles Butt Scholar alumni in their first years as Texas teachers shared their learnings and reflections with us. The stories, struggles, and triumphs showcased in this Q&A portfolio provide an honest look at what it’s like to be a new teacher.

Q What does teaching and learning look like right now in your classroom?

A I am teaching in person full-time.

Q What is something you’ve learned from a student this year?

A I have learned to listen to students in times of need and to have patience when things aren’t going as planned.

Q What was a challenge you faced this school year and how did you overcome it?

A I had difficulties with my students this year, but I overcame it by listening to them and finding my voice as an assertive, and fair teacher.

Q What have you seen over the course of this school year that gives you hope/optimism about Texas public schools?

A I have seen how families can come together to ensure their students learn the best to their ability.

Q What is a practice/strategy you will take from your teaching experience during COVID-19 and integrate into future (non-COVID) years?

A Integrating more technology into our lessons.

Q What advice or encouragement do you have for teachers starting their careers in the 2021-22 school year?

A Be patient, and if you feel something needs to change, act on it, go with your gut. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and find that teacher voice. Show kindness always and come in every day with a clean slate.

Q Thinking about the 2020-21 school year as a whole, what was your greatest lesson, either about teaching or yourself as a professional?

A My greatest lesson was learning how to effectively manage teaching and create engaging lessons to encourage students to take control of their learning experience. I learned teachers and students are very resilient!