Building relationships with students is key, say both 2016 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year Revathi Balakrishnan, a talented and gifted specialist in Round Rock ISD, and 2016 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year Martha Saucedo, a family and consumer science teacher in Brady ISD.
“All of us have different philosophies coming into teaching, but if you
really look at it, it all boils down to
the rigor and the relevance and building resilience and building
relationships,” said Balakrishnan, who was selected to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program as Texas Teacher of the Year.
Balakrishnan, who has taught for 10 years, is a second-career educator, having first spent 12 years as a systems analyst. She said she hopes the recognition she has received as a campus, district, region, and now Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, will inspire others to join the teaching profession, which she has described as complex but satisfying.
“I hope that my rewarding experiences will convince people of underrepresented ethnicities to follow in my footsteps and enter this noble profession,” said Balakrishnan, who emigrated from India 30 years ago. “My own daughter did, saying, ‘I see you come home from work every day, excited for the new day to begin. I want the same for myself.’”
Balakrishnan is the founder of the Shakespeare Support Group for TAG teachers and the Round Rock ISD Shakespeare Festival, and she is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented (TAGT). In 2011, she was chosen the Region 13 TAGT Teacher of the Year.
Martha Saucedo, the 2016 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, credits her own teachers, along with life’s hardships, for pushing her to get where she is today.
“For me, the teachers who influenced my life, influenced who I became, what I believe, and how I teach also helped to develop the best part of my teaching philosophy today: Pay it forward,” she said. “My whole life people paid it forward to me, and I will do the same as a teacher. No needed stickers, stars, checkmarks or pats on the back. My rewards are walking in the halls of Brady High School, in colleges all around the United States, serving in our military, and creating families; my rewards are paying it forward every day.”
Saucedo has taught family consumer science at Brady High School in Brady ISD for the past seven years of her nine-year career in education.
“I have been blessed to find a job that I want to do every day,” Saucedo said. “My job is to inspire motivate, to be contagious in a good way.”