In a recent Facebook contest, hosted by K-12 Online, two teachers emerged GREAT as voted on by their students, peers, family and friends. The unlikely paradox is that the winning teachers are from schools of despairing backgrounds. One of our GREAT teachers is from a high school in Irvine, CA, which is most notably known for being featured as one of the Best Places to Live year-after year and where the median family income is over $107,000 per year[i]. Our other GREAT teacher hails from a Dallas, TX inner-city elementary school where nearly 40% of their population are limited English proficient students and 98% of its student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch, much the contrary from our CA school where only 7% of its students are eligible. [ii]
Although on opposite ends of the spectrum demographically, the missions of these two schools are not as varying. Both schools strive to provide the highest quality educational experience in an environment that is conducive to learning so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become productive and responsible members of society.
And as aligned as the missions are, so are the GREAT teachers representing these schools. Here is what others had to say about these GREAT teachers:
LaShocka Thompson, Roger Q. Mills Elementary, Dallas, TX
“LaShocka is truly a phenomenal, dynamic, and wonderful educator…She’s dedicated and devoted to her job and she motivates her students to do their best and lets them know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and there is no limit to education…EDUCATION IS FREEDOM!!! She teaches her students various learning strategies to help them understand their assignments, keeps the parents updated on any event or the student’s progress, and makes sure that the students have fun while learning. Additionally, she has been awarded with numerous school awards because of her DEDICATION & HARD WORK in helping the students succeed in their education and goals in life. LaShocka is what I call, “A TRUE AND DEVOTED TEACHER” who is on the road to MAKIKG A DIFFERENCE IN OUR YOUNG STUDENTS’ LIVES.???
“LaShocka is extremely dedicated and adamant in reaching her pupils. She always gives 110 percent and never lets any obstacles stop her in reaching her goals???
“Hard work and dedication is what schools are lacking and what LaShocka exemplifies day in and day out. Anything that can improve the learning process for her children she is doing it and more. To see how she loves and cares for her children is to know she loves them as if they are her own… She’s beyond a great teacher, she’s a phenomenal teacher…???
“LaShocks Thompson, is dedicated to her students and goes above and beyond to give her students the tools that they will need to be successful in school and in their lives!???
“LaShocka Thompson is one of the few teachers that I can say loves what she does. When you find a teacher who’s caring, understanding, thoughtful and builds relationships with families, then you’ve found yourself a special teacher. Ms. Thompson is a winner in our book.???
“LaShocka Thompson is a phenomenal educator and exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional teacher. Her dedication to her students is unparalleled and is evident in her dedication to ensuring that all of her students are successful learners!???
Valerie Thompson, University High School, Irvine, CA
“Being a senior in high school I have met a lot of teachers. I can honestly say none can compare to Valerie Thompson. She is a teacher of chemistry, which can be a very confusing subject to most. She makes every student eager to learn, and I can’ t think of a day I was ever bored in her class. She strives to be her best each day no matter what kind of day she is having. She is an amazing teacher that every kid feels blessed to have. She is more than a teacher though she is a mentor to her students and makes each one feel special in their own way. She gives kids hope for their futures. This teacher has immeasurable compassion, and a complete heart of gold. Valerie Thompson is the best of the best and I have never met a kinder person.???
“When it comes to being a great teacher Ms. Thompson goes above and beyond this word. To me and to many she is the best teacher they have ever had. Being a senior I have had many teachers, but none have come close to her ability. This woman has such a talent for what she does and she has not only taught kids about chemistry but life as well. I first met Ms. Thompson as a freshman in honors coordinated science 1 and after that first class I knew she would make my first year of high school a great one. I then had the joy of having her my junior year for honors chemistry. Every day she had so much enthusiasm and love for what she does. It truly creates an enjoyable learning environment. Whether its getting really excited about what she is teaching us, or when she is helping kids with labs she always has a smile on her face. It is infectious. No matter what kind of day she is having she gives it her all. Chemistry can be very confusing to some kids but with her it all makes sense and a ton of fun. She has a deep understanding of the subject and the way kids learn and understand the subject, which makes the perfect combination for teaching. At our school we have a block schedule and on two of the days we have office hours. This is the time for kids to go ask their teachers questions and get work done. Every office hours Ms. Thompson’s room is packed as it always is because kids enjoy being in her atmosphere. Also, she helps kids the whole time and even during snack and lunch if a kid doesn’t understand something she will take her free time to explain it several times if needed til the kid gets it. Also when it comes to kids stressing out about high school and getting straight A’s I truly believe she is the best person to talk to. She teaches kids that getting good grades is a good thing, but it is not the only thing in life. She shows kids as she has shown me that one grade in a high school course does not define who we are as people and what our worth is. I have never met such a compassionate, loving person in my life. She made learning fun for me and many others. But, Ms. Thompson did not just teach me two courses of science, she taught me that everyone is special and important, including myself. If any student was having a problem at school or home she was always there for them when they needed her. Ms. Thompson is one of the easiest people to talk to and she has helped me and others with anything that seemed to be going wrong. She inspires me daily and I am blessed and fortunate that she came into my life. She has a complete heart of gold and puts her students before herself. I don’t think greatness as a teacher can truly be measured, but I know that Ms. Thompson has touched the hearts of all her students and I think that is greatness that not many acquire. When I think of Ms. Thompson this quote describes her to me and others:”
Most of us have at least one person in our life that inspires us to achieve more than we thought possible. This person encourages us, gives us tools or just plain loves us unconditionally. This person becomes the “wind beneath our wings” in a sense. Everyone needs others to bolster them, especially young people just learning who they are. These people, heroes to many, usually have no idea the hope they inspire in our hearts. They inspire because of who they are, not because they seek the title. -Anonymous
“Mrs. Thompson is the reason I go to school everyday. Rarely does a teacher care as genuinely for her students as she. I know that without Mrs. Thompson’s love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She resonates strength and beauty, and she has this wonderful way of making everyone feel special. As a teacher, she makes chemistry fun and accessible to all students, many of whom go on to AP Chemistry or college chemistry classes with ease thanks to her class. I’ve learned a lot from Mrs. Thompson both academically and emotionally. She’s an incredibly smart, loving, and beautiful person, and she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had.???