Teacher in number one spot at local school

Diana Garcia's peer teachers at Travis Elementary nominated her as the school's Teacher of the Year. Courtesy Photo

HARLINGEN — She’s “it.”

That’s why Diana Garcia’s peer teachers at Travis Elementary have nominated her as the school’s Teacher of the Year.

“ It’s an honor,” said Garcia, 43, who said she was humbled by the designation. She said she had “no idea” why they nominated her, giving credit to all the teachers at Travis.

“ We all put forth our effort to teach our students,” she said. “We all use technology and different means of getting our students to understand the material.”

Garcia, the mother of one son attending the University of Texas at Austin, has taught at Travis for 12 years. She began her career teaching first grade, then second. Now she teaches fourth grade math as well as science and social studies.

She most enjoys the interaction she has with her students.

“ I love to hear their input on the material we happen to be going over,” she said. “I may teach it a certain way and they bring a certain input, like, ‘Oh, well, couldn’t we have done it this other way?’ They bring in their thinking as well.”

What changes has she seen in her twelve years teaching?

“ A lot more technology, a whole lot more,” she said. “That’s a big change there. And just the way these generations go, just their way of learning as well.”

Because students today use so much technology in many aspects of their lives, Garcia uses it to reach them during instruction.

“ For some it’s a lot easier to explain, whether it’s a recording or it’s a video, and they love all that,” she said.

And now during the pandemic, technology has certainly shown its power. It has enabled Garcia and her peer instructors to continue teaching while their students are quarantined at home.

“ I have used the seesaw app, and that’s how I get my assignments across to my students for the most part,” she said. “I have a good 20 some students that are doing it all online. I communicate with parents through a remind app. They get to send in their work, and I give them feedback, I get to send it back.”

She also works with about seven or eight students with no Internet access at home who are doing their schoolwork with paper packets.