InClass

National Board Certified Teacher Daniela Robles works in the Balsz School District. The teaching veteran shares a recent experience that rekindled her teaching fire. The last few days I have been fortunate to welcome the newest teachers to my district through new teacher orientation. Thus far, we h

Jul 21, 2016

National Board Certified Teacher Daniela Robles works in the Balsz School District. The teaching veteran shares a recent experience that rekindled her teaching fire.


The last few days I have been fortunate to welcome the newest teachers to my district through new teacher orientation. Thus far, we have ventured into the world of our district expectations, curriculum, and instructional focus. Great days filled with energy, positive intentions, and learning.

As my colleague and I were loading our “rolly carts” into our trunks and processing our day with new teachers, I heard a voice from afar say, “Mrs. Robles!” Only those of us who serve students know the difference between a student saying our name compared to a colleague, or a nurse at the doctor’s office. My heartbeat began to quicken as I quickly closed my trunk and turned around.

Standing in front of me was a young man. I surmised he was a recent high school graduate due to his alumni T-shirt. He said my name again, “Mrs. Robles!” It was confirmed this was one of my former students. He continued, “Mrs. Robles, it’s me Enrique. You were my teacher.”

Now, let’s stop for a moment and ponder the forces that came together to make this encounter occur. Enrique was my former student in my former life in another district. It has been six years since I worked in the district. Fast forward to 2016 in the parking lot of my current district’s community center, where Enrique was attending a “Youth of the Year” meeting being held at the center.

I quickly became overwhelmed with emotion when he shared he recently graduated from one of our state’s most prestigious high schools and will head to the University of Arizona in the fall. To say I felt intense pride in that moment was not enough; I felt an incredible sense of assurance that my life’s work has been, and will continue to be, purposeful. I hugged Enrique — for those of you that don’t know me, you should note I’m not a hugger.

As we continued with small talk, my colleague entered the conversation.

“Wait, Enrique, you recognized Mrs. Robles after all these years? I mean, Mrs. Robles is starting her twentieth year of teaching. You haven’t seen her in a long time. I can’t believe you recognized her,” she said.

Enrique quickly replied, “Of course I recognized her. Mrs. Robles taught me how to read.”

My eyes welled up with tears of honor. I asked Enrique if we could take a picture together. I wanted to capture the moment. The moment that sometimes we lose sight of; the moment that becomes lost in the noise that wants us all to believe that public education is an entity of failure.

Let Enrique serves as our reminder that public education is strong. Public education is one of our greatest civil rights.

Enrique, thank you for reminding your old teacher that she made a difference in your life. I will hold our moment together in my heart forever.

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