Supporting Teachers Who Support The Future of Students

School is considered a second home for children, and teachers are often called second parents. However, despite the fulfillment that comes with the teaching profession, it remains one of the most undervalued jobs worldwide. 

Fort Worth-based teacher Cabrera Thomas feels the same as other teachers — that playing a pivotal role in shaping the early phase of a child’s life comes with
many challenges. 

“Teaching is difficult work. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. There are meetings, meetings about meetings, paperwork, data entry, data analyzing, planning lessons, planning interventions for struggling students, and collaborating with parents, to name a few,” said Mrs. Thomas, who’s been in the teaching career for more than eight years. 

“Managing a classroom full of tiny humans with little impulse control and taking my work home, which means less time for my own children and husband, and being constantly overstimulated,” are some of the issues she faces. Despite issues like low pay, behavior management, and burnout, Mrs. Thomas is committed to bringing out the best in kids. She loves seeing her students every day, and she’s motivated by the many cute little things that happen in the classroom. When students are stuck with an assignment or a task and feel almost discouraged, and she checks on them, they look at her with their innocent, bright eyes and say, “I can do hard things!” This fills her heart — seeing the kids reflect what she’s instilled in them since their first day. 

“I have a good group of kids this year, and they all love coming to school. That’s really special,” she shared.  “Every day after announcements, I play our morning song. It is our routine, and the students look forward to it every morning. I never get tired of hearing them sing along to it. Their sweet voices make me smile every time. That’s what I like most about my day-to-day work.”

Pursuing a career in teaching was not her first choice. As a college student, Mrs. Thomas loved studying criminal justice and wanted to become a probation officer. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice. After she got married and had her first child, her life changed. As a new mom, she was unsure about joining the criminal justice industry. She began to look within herself and what qualities she had to forge a new career path. Later, she earned her teaching certification through
an alternative
certification program.

“A relative suggested that teaching might be a great fit with my nurturing personality,” Mrs. Thomas said “Also, during this time, my son had been diagnosed as autistic. I was learning more about autism and how to help him. Teaching him skills and advocating for him helped me see myself teaching other children. I was eager to help other children reach their full potential.” 

Every second week in May (May 6-10 this year) Teacher Appreciation Week celebrates the importance of teachers in our lives. Mrs. Thomas says the best way to show appreciation for teachers is for the government to stop cutting funding for education and pay their worth as the professionals they are. 

Teachers are undoubtedly the backbone of society, and we should all support them as they try to navigate the challenges in their day-to-day work. One of the challenges many elementary school teachers face is a need for more support from parents. Parents are their child’s first teachers and directly impact their child’s future and education. Mrs. Thomas believes parents are equally responsible for teaching their kids the values and skills they want to see in them. 

“Love, support, self-regulation, empathy, responsibility, respect, social skills, healthy meals, a decent bedtime, and limited screen must be taught and enforced at home. But much of that is left up to teachers in the real world,” Mrs.
Thomas said. 

“Stay involved in your child’s education from the beginning. Please encourage your child each day before they go to school,” she said. “Every child learns at a different pace. It’s never too late to read with your child. Research shows that reading with your child daily vastly increases their reading fluency and comprehension. It fosters a love for reading and is a wonderful bonding time for you and your child, regardless of age. Ask your child’s teacher how you can help. Children must see that the adults around them take education and their
futures seriously.”

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