Blue Haze Elementary third grade teacher Marissa Torres is the 2018 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Torres, the Education Service Center Region 11 Teacher of the Year, was among six teacher finalists ... three elementary and three secondary ... who advanced to the state competition.
She was announced as the Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year during the Texas Association of School Administrators State Teacher of the Year Ceremony on Sept. 15. Torres is the first WSISD teacher to ever achieve this honor.
“To truly increase student engagement, you have to relinquish some of your classroom control to the students,” Torres said. “If you empower them and make them take ownership of their learning, they feel invested in their learning.”
Torres said she learned that planning lessons around her students’ interests and giving them more choice in their education empowered them.
A teacher for the past 10 years, five in WSISD, Torres said one of her goals is to create lifelong learners who will contribute positively to their community.
“I don’t want to just help students arrive at the ‘right answer’ in my classroom,” she said. “I want to help guide them to become independent problem solvers who can apply their skills and knowledge beyond the classroom.”
She said, “Starting on the first day of school, I strive to connect everything we do to the real world and to emphasize the importance of contributing positively to both our classroom community and their outside communities.”
Torres was also the keynote speaker for Region 11’s Empowering Learners Expanding Worlds Conference on Sept. 13.