“I went to the University of Texas and got a mechanical engineering degree and I worked in industry for seven years and then, I became a stay-at-home mom for the past last eleven years.”
And now Lisa Hale is going try her hand at teaching. She’ll be at Lovett Elementary and is one of hundreds of new teachers going through HISD’s two day teacher training program. Even though she began her career as an engineer, Hale says she always wanted to be in the classroom, all because of her 8th grade teacher—Ms. McBride.
“She just had so much joy of her subject and what she was doing and got me interested in social studies for the first time.”
The new teachers are learning everything from lesson planning to classroom management. A few years ago Rashid Mohagheghian was a law student headed for the courtroom, instead of the classroom. But he started substitute teaching on the side and he felt something he couldn’t explain.
“I think it was the attention I got. I think, I was able to grasp the attention of a person, a little person, but I still was able to grasp that attention and they were willing to listen to me. Even though I was teaching and I was in a classroom setting, it was just the control of having somebody being able to follow you and having to teach them, it was—I liked it.”
Some of the new teachers will head to schools that have high test scores while others may end up at failing schools. Andetria Hampton Green who is in charge of teacher training says many times teachers unfairly take the blame for those failures. She says people who blame teachers don’t understand what they have to deal with.
“Prime example, as a first year teacher, I had one little girl to leave as a fourth grader pregnant by her mother’s boyfriend. I had another girl that was being molested by her stepdad and her mother knew about it. The grandmother tried to intervene.”
Green says her teachers are prepared to teach but the social realities of the students are out of their control.
“I had another situation where the mother would have to travel to Honduras a lot. And I had a fourth grader that had brothers and sisters in every grade level below her and she had to go home and cook dinner.”
For two days this week, the rookie teachers sit in classrooms and listen to instructors talk about what works and doesn’t work in the classroom. School starts August 24th. That’s when they’ll get the chance to find out for themselves.
Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.