My name is Elizabeth Bartels-Huizar, and I am a 4th-grade teacher in the San Antonio area of Texas. I also taught 3rd grade in Arizona after graduating from Arizona State University’s Teachers College. I have been in the classroom for six years, but I have always enjoyed helping children learn about the world. My first ever “job” as a teenager was being a babysitter, and I liked finding fun projects to get kids interested in science. The excitement in the kids’ faces brought me so much joy, not to mention being around kids, in general, is pretty fun. At the end of high school, when it was time to think of college and take career quizzes, the category that always came up for me was a nurturing role – nursing, teaching, health care, counselor – and then it jumped out at me. I knew I needed to pursue education.
I wanted to become a teacher specifically because I knew how much a kind, caring, and enthusiastic teacher can make a difference in a child’s life. Throughout my years as a student in public education, I had wonderful teachers that left a huge impact on me. I was extremely shy in elementary school – like not even able to stand on the stage with my class during holiday programs without hysterically crying, shy – but I had the sweetest teacher that would stand with me behind the curtain telling me everything would be okay. By the end of the year, I was able to be on stage for the last program of the year! I was five years old, and I still remember it! As I progressed through middle and high school, teachers saw potential in me and pushed me to be more outgoing in order to share my strengths with others. I joined the debate team, cheerleading, and by senior year I was the National Honor Society president! What?! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined those things, but I blossomed because of the encouragement of my teachers and parents. Living through it myself, I knew I could also be that positive role model in others’ lives. I feel like my personal growth and gifts of compassion, empathy, and communication make me well suited for the role of an educator.
I have been teaching for six years in upper elementary and absolutely love working with students of that age. They are forming their own opinions of the world, are curious in their questioning, genuinely enjoy learning, and explode with the feeling of accomplishment. Plus, they complete most of their work without an attitude! One of my favorite things is teaching writing because many students have very little confidence in their writing ability when they arrive in my class. We work hard all year long, and by the end of the year, I inevitably hear audible gasps of excitement when 11 o’clock rolls around, and it’s time for writing to start! Of course, not every kid is wild about writing, but some really find a passion for it and tell me they love it because I taught them so much. Some days it brings a tear to my eye because, yeesh, learning to teach writing and then teaching it to students, and then actually doing it well, has been such a humbling process for me! It definitely is the subject that will keep me a lifelong learner.
Overall watching each student grow personally and academically is the best part of the job. Seeing children every day and being a small part of the wonderful human they will become is a blessing I don’t take for granted. My job is challenging, but every day I’m reminded of how important it is and how much I am loved. Every year has its ups and downs, but the good days always outweigh the bad when you have a grateful heart!
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