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Teacher Appreciation Month: Spotlight on Angela Holt

A first-grade teacher talks about her formative years and the people who helped to shape the educator she is today

Last week, in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Month, we posted a series of questions to blog readers and members of DreamBox Nation to get you thinking about the people or things that inspired you to pursue a career in education. Shortly thereafter, your responses came flooding in. Thank you, as always, for being such active and committed members of this growing professional learning community.

For some of you, the impetus to teach came later in life after exploring other career options. Others just knew from day one that the classroom was their calling. We noted common threads, surprising observations, and thoughtful insights—all of which it was our pleasure and honor to read. We’ll be showcasing some of our favorite responses here on the blog in the coming weeks. We hope these stories about teaching resonate with you and serve as a reminder of all the meaningful ways your work inspires others every day.

First up, is Angela Holt a first grade teacher in Lufkin ISD, the largest school district in Angelina County, East Texas. Angela teaches students in the Gifted and Talented program at Dunbar Primary. As a first grade teacher, she sees children at the very beginning of their formal learning journey, a special time when, as Angela explains, “they are not only learning reading, writing and math, but also how to socialize and get along with other children that are different from them.”

For Angela, the biggest challenge and joy of working with kids during this important period of transition is “helping them see the world outside of their small box and knowing that they are capable of much more than they can see right now.” Here’s more of Angela’s story.        

Angela Holt, First-Grade Teacher

Who inspired you to become a teacher?

Angela says there were two teachers who inspired and influenced her to pursue a career in education: her mom, who taught middle-, high-school, and college-level math, and her first grade teacher, Mrs. Carolton, who taught Angela how to express herself.

“I understood numbers and loved math, but when it came to reading and writing, I really struggled. Mrs. Carolton took me aside while the other students were off doing something else (maybe even recess) and focused only on me. She asked me questions that got me talking which then led to knowing what to write. My imagination started to take off in words. My confidence began to grow. She even had a quiet closet where I could just go and write alone. That became an important part of my life as I still to this day search for my quiet spot to just write.”      

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

Angela revels in showing her kids that they possess the strength and power to change the world and achieve amazing things. She loves, “seeing their eyes light up because for the first time in their life, they realize that they can do hard things. They see a teacher that loves and challenges them, and they want more of it.  My greatest joy is being able to meet my students right where they are and encourage them to believe in themselves and take off to a place where the light bulbs are bright.”

When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?

Like many of you who responded to our challenge, Angela knew she wanted to teach from her earliest days, homeschooling dolls, stuffed animals, and on the rare occasion her younger brother. “I always had a love of teaching. As a child, I created attendance sheets and tests all the time during play at home.”

Naturally, the subject was always math. And, rumor has it the teddy bears never missed a class and always aced their assessments. 

Tracy Chow
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