Teachers do more than teach in the classroom. They mold our future.
"For me, teaching is not a job. This is something that you love and you have to endure," said Tamieka Sanchez, a kindergarten teacher at E. Ray Elementary School in Everman. "Everyone can’t teach. You know, you can show someone how to do something, but it has to be embedded within you to be able to do that."
And for Sanchez, her calling to teach is a gift. She thanks her military background that helped teach her the discipline of not giving up.
"Not giving up. Not giving up on, I’m going to get emotional, not giving up on a 5-year-old. How can you give up on someone who is just trying to begin on life?" asked Sanchez.
And the costumes. Let's just say Sanchez gets really creative. From Cinco De Mayo, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, even Tax Day.
Her unique style of teaching keeps her kindergartners captivated from the second they walk into her classroom to the moment they leave. Even her family at home has joined in to keep her students guessing. What is Mrs. Sanchez going to come dressed as next?
"So I can, you know, let these kids know, they’re not just a costume, there is a reason behind it. I’m not just a Christmas tree, there’s a reason behind it," said Sanchez.
"She’s amazing," said Lisa Reel, whose son, Alexander, learned from Sanchez two years ago. "She’s here before, after school, on weekends if she could be. Dressing up."
Reel nominated Sanchez to be December's Excellent Educator. "We support her every year and other teachers do, too," said Alexander.
"She’s an amazing teacher who loves her kids, who works tirelessly, for them,” said Eva Quinonez, E. Ray Elementary School Principal. "She comes in at 6:30 in the morning and doesn’t leave until 5 or 6 at night, just to make sure she is prepared for them."
"On behalf of SMU, we would like to recognize Tamieka Sanchez as being recognized as an Excellent Educator, we present this $1,000 check to the elementary school," said Elena Hicks, SMU Dean of Undergraduate Admission.
"What you see with Mrs. Sanchez is innovation. She meets the students where they are, and I think that’s what teachers have to do," said Hicks.
"And believe me, she is one who knows how to close that achievement gap," said Everman ISD Superintendent Curtin Amos.