Looking back at her high school years, Sherry Solis can remember sitting in her Texas Association of Future Teachers (TAFE) class and thinking to herself that this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
“I loved being able to help people, and that class let me see the gratification others got from teaching. I knew that was something I wanted to do.”
Teaching for her 11th year at Vernon Middle School, Solis has been able to assist eighth grade Mustangs understand mathematical theory and develop problem-solving skills. It’s something that takes the philosophy she built as a high school student and changes it to reflect her students each year.
“Students are different every year, and you have to approach lessons that reflect the students you are teaching,” said Solis. “My goal as a teacher is for students to leave my room knowing that this is place to learn and a safe environment. I’m there to help them leave with a sense of accomplishment.”
Along with understanding her students’ needs, she focuses on the work being done in the classroom. She and her students know that each day is a new opportunity to work, and that everyday will bring something new to learn, she said. When it comes to the lessons, keeping it relevant is what matters to Solis.
Incorporating different situations that students can relate to in her lessons keeps her students engaged. From game shows to hands on activities, students are always active participant in the day’s lesson. For her students, being active can be answering questions out loud in the middle of class to keep their minds focused. If a student doesn’t know the answer, Solis will work with the student until they are able to find a successful solution.
Regardless if the answer gets found right away, the emphasis she puts on her students is that it’s important to place the effort to try and reach the end result.
“It’s going to be hard sometimes, but it can be done,” said Solis. “I want students to know that as long as they work hard they can get to a successful end point.”
When not in her classroom, she is watching over her two children and thinking of new ways to help her students each day.