Teacher Appreciation Week Spotlight: Khang Phan, William Kuykendall and Porcha Ensley

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May 4-8 is National Teacher Appreciation Week! The National PTA in 1984 designated the first week of May as a special time to honor those who lend their passion and skills to educating children.

Like their counterparts across the nation, Dallas ISD teachers play an essential role in student success. During Teacher Appreciation Week, we invite the community to join us in recognizing the dedicated educators who wholeheartedly commit themselves to providing an exceptional educational experience for all children.

Each day this week, we will recognize three of the hundreds of exemplary educators in the five divisions of the district. As we highlight their experiences, we salute the role every teacher plays in making our schools, communities and country better places to live and work.

Today, we salute Division 3 teachers. Each teacher answered the same three questions: What has been your favorite moment as a teacher, what is the best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD, and what is one way in which you hope to impact students?

 

Khang Phan at Thomas J. Rusk Middle School

My favorite moment as a teacher has been …

Making the decision this year to completely veer away from the Dallas ISD Pacing Guide and curriculum because there are fundamental flaws with it and starting my own. It has been rewarding for me to see my students enjoy learning more than they ever have. My students’ enjoyment makes them more motivated to produce results. For myself to have the confidence to step outside what is normally done has been the biggest single factor on my success and that of my students.

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is …

The privilege of working with underserved children. Growing up, I didn’t have very many opportunities. If it had not been for one or two teachers who made the decision to work in a school district like Dallas ISD, I would not have made it to college. My personal experience is what made me want to work for an urban school district and it is what my college training prepared me for.

One way I hope to impact students is …

To inspire them to enjoy learning and, most importantly, reading and writing. I would also like to instill in my students that education is about the process and the growth and not the result. Sometimes as teachers it is easy to get fixated on the products that we forget that learning is about the journey. I love to see when my students enjoy the learning process.

 

William Kuykendall at Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College High School

My favorite moment as a teacher has been …

Most people think their favorite moment will happen in the classroom, but when you’re doing debate and working with students in public speaking, oftentimes those moments happen someplace else. My best moment this year was when we were at a competition and we had two freshmen, both girls, who had just been told they made the semifinals at the state championship. They were scared to death. As they went up the stairs to the auditorium to walk on their way out, I told them they could win and assured them no one could beat them. The fear had begun to slowly fade away, watching them feel assured was a victory for me. At that point, it did not matter if they won or not. Coincidentally, they did win the championship.

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is …

If you are in Dallas ISD, you have so many more opportunities than if you were in a smaller school district or if you were in a district whose focus is different than ours. The way I see ours is focused on student achievement and student success. Everything we do is focused on these two things and the question of, “Will this give us a good end product?” At our campus, we work as a team to ensure we are all working toward the same goals.  Every opportunity that comes along that I present to my superiors and colleagues, they all lend their support to the mission to get things done. The school climate is a great one here with the parents, students and staff – we all have the same focus on what we are doing.  We are ALL focused on having the most successful students possible.

One way I hope to impact students is …

To help them develop maturity, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

 

Porcha Ensley at C.F. Carr Elementary School

My favorite moment as a teacher has been …

My stories, the things that happen in the classroom. The incidents that happen in the classroom with my students have been my favorite moment so far.

The best thing about being a teacher in Dallas ISD is …

Being able to go beyond being a teacher. It’s a work of service because it entails much more than being an educator. Some days here I’m also a mom, a nurse, a doctor, a therapist. If you have a heart of serving, this is a great district to work for; it also lets you serve and educate at the same time.

One way I hope to impact students is …

Definitely paying it forward. Giving them back what was given to me. I am a product of Dallas ISD and West Dallas and I got some things from both that are still with me today and if I can give a little of that back I will feel I have done my job.

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