Ten Charles Butt Scholar alumni, now first and second-year teachers, share their struggles, victories, and learnings a few months into the 2020-21 school year. These new Texas teachers find inspiration in their profession, and in the process, inspire us. Explore the full Q&A portfolio.

Q What should Texans know about what is happening currently in public schools?

A Texans should know that teachers and administration and working extra hard to provide our students with the education they deserve. I feel there is a misconception that teachers are not doing anything, but we are doing so much!

Q Can you share one recent moment or memory that encapsulates your experience or communicates what is most meaningful about your job right now?

A Today our school hosted a drive-by trunk or treat, and it was the first time I got to see my students. We social-distanced and wore masks but seeing my students in their costumes and their excitement to see everyone reminded me of why I do what I do, and it’s for the kids.

Q How has your education prepared you for this moment?

A I cannot put into words how well my university, UTRGV, prepared me for teaching. I know that they could not have expected us to start our careers virtually, but I learned so much about working with different resources and, most importantly, being flexible.

Q What is one way you’ve supported your students recently?

A Recently I have begun to prep my lessons about two months in advance because I realized that when we do packet distributions, I sometimes don’t have the material I need for my students to learn best. So now I have to think, “What will I be teaching six weeks from now?” so that I know which work I need to send home for us to be ready for those lessons. It takes a lot of time, but I do it so my students have everything they need. I am even creating craft kits for them so that we can do crafts together on Google meet!

Q Given the good, bad, and ugly of 2020-21, what do you love about teaching right now?

A My students! There are days when I feel like the worst teacher on Earth and think I am failing, and then my students will tell me they love me or tell me a funny joke, and it makes it all worth it. If I can connect with ONE student a day, it makes my life feel whole.