2016-2017 Teacher of the Year


- Lester Morrow - 

Teacher of the Year


It is truly an honor to be awarded Hambrick Middle School Teacher of the Year and Aldine's Secondary Teacher of the Year.  

I have always wanted to be a teacher.  Growing up I was the one who insisted to perform that role when my brothers and sisters played ‘dress up’. I was the one standing at the front of our mock classroom, walking around with stick in hand, giving pretend lessons, modeling proper speech, and my favorite was issuing time-outs for their unruly behavior.  Here I am 20 years into my teaching career and standing at the head of my own classroom,  I feel blessed that I am able to live out my childhood dream every day (with a few modifications to my classroom management and teaching style, of course.) 
I guess you could say that I was groomed to be a teacher.  My mom and dad were both teachers and I learned from an early age the benefits of being an educator.  Around our dinner table my parents always talked about lesson planning and grade books, discipline strategies and testing.  They compared thematic units and chapter books.  They showed me all I needed to know about the day to day of being a teacher. What they weren’t able to teach me is how to LOVE this profession.  That’s where God intervened by sending me to Aldine.  Here I’ve been fortunate to spend most of my days in a classroom and hours of my afternoons either on a football field or basketball court as coach. Most folks wouldn’t realize that the successes I’ve experienced both in athletics and in the classroom are not because of my knowledge of subject matter or some unique management system, but instead it’s as simple as building a loving and trusting relationship with those I teach.  In my class we call ourselves a family, on the court and on the field we break our huddles with “brothers.” 

Being in a position to work with students who are both limited English proficient and economically disadvantaged has been a challenge, especially when there is very little you have in common with those you teach.  We don’t live in the same neighborhood, we don’t shop at the same stores, eat the same foods, or watch the same TV shows. We don’t go to the same churches or practice the same religion. And we don’t speak the same home language. Yet our children want someone they can relate to; they choose their heroes from celebrities, professional athletes or those who have fought their battles OR those who will battle with them.  So we as teachers step up and become heroes ; just as in my childhood, we play roles. We sometimes find ourselves having to fulfill the place of a big brother who has their back when the rest of the world seems to have turned against them. At times we are a parent to give advice even though it’s not always what they want to hear, or a loyal friend who they can confide in and not worry about their secrets going public.  In filling these different roles a bond is formed; we become emotionally involved with them.  Over time, we learn to feel their sorrow and pain.  We know their fears and insecurities.  Fortunately what also comes with this is the opportunity to celebrate their triumphs and successes. Through the course of a school year, what was once a classroom turns into a home.  Those many faces evolve into a family; they learn to love, respect and care for one another.  And over time, they learn their role in our ‘school family’ and many for the first time feel appreciated and valued as a member of something greater and bigger than themselves.  

Both on the football field, basketball court and in the classroom, I’ve seen that once a child knows that you believe in them, that you have high expectations for them and especially if they don’t succeed the first time then you still have their back, they will give you the world.  And they have! 

Even grown men have dreams- I am blessed to be able to live mine every day.