For the love of learning

The Classroom Teacher, winter 2014-15

Whitney Crews, 2015 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

Whether it’s Trivia Tuesday or Famous Person Friday, TCTA member Whitney Crews is on a mission to share the world — and her love for learning — with her sixth-grade students in Lindale ISD.

“My prayer is that my students are learning to learn!” she says. “If they don’t know the answer, how do they find it? Where can education take them, and why is it something kids in other parts of the world are willing to walk miles or risk their lives to get?”

Crews, who was named the 2015 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year (TOY) in October 2014, teaches science and social studies at E.J. Moss Intermediate School, where she has taught for the last 17 years of her 18-year career in education.

Here’s her take on teaching and TCTA:

Q: In your TOY essay, you wrote that many teachers feel unappreciated and overworked, and they seem to have lost their joy. How do you remain joyful?

A: I try to remember that every year brings a new group of students, and they deserve a teacher who enjoys what she’s doing. I try to pass along my love of learning because some would rather be doing something else or school is a struggle, and some have a lot going on at home. These students deserve a teacher who is willing to give it her all every day, no matter what is going on.

Q: How do you pass along your love for learning?

A: My colleagues once gave me a “Wild and Wacky” award for being willing to try new ideas. I am not afraid to say that what I am doing is not working … and even moving to plan B, or X, Y, Z! An outstanding teacher is well prepared so that he or she can wing it and go with the flow.

Q: You have been a TCTA member for 17 years and you served for several years as your local TCTA affiliate secretary/treasurer and as a faculty rep. Why did you volunteer with TCTA?

A: I want to be sure teachers are aware of what TCTA is and how TCTA represents us and is always advocating for teachers. I had to use the legal services when I was in a situation with a parent. How valuable it was to talk through that with an attorney! He gave me great advice and explained what my rights were. New teachers especially need to know that such benefits are available and that it’s important to be covered.

Q: What do you most look forward to about being Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year?

A: I want to visit colleges and talk to future teachers about the realities of teaching that they don’t teach in college. How do you handle a parent conference? What’s it like to sit in an interview? How do you motivate a struggling student? I want to give them the reality of the profession so they’re better prepared.

Q: What do you want to say to your fellow teachers?

A: Thank you! It’s important for people to know that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a teacher. I don’t do this by myself. I have an amazing subject matter partner and we bounce ideas off of each other. Teachers are always working together. It’s a team effort, and it takes all of us to achieve our goals for our students. Even if I’m getting the recognition now, I didn’t get here by myself, so thank you!

Learn more about Whitney Crews by watching her TOY videos produced by Lindale ISD and Region 7.

See also:

Christine Amerson, 2015 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year Finalist

TCTA members named 2015 Regional Teachers of the Year