WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - From the time the bell rings, Heather Preston sets out to instill a sense of purpose in her students.
“They’re going through eight classes a day. Their lives are so full. So, I have them set 47 minutes, and my goal is to do what I can with that 47 minutes and make it meaningful,” she said.
Today's lesson? Reflect on the previous year and choose one word to focus on for 2019.
It is something she does herself. Last year her word was growth.
“I really wanted to grow as an educator and I wanted to help grow educators,” Preston remembers.
It was exactly what the AP senior English teacher did.
She won Secondary Teacher of the year in Wichita Falls ISD. She’s also the academic coordinator and the coach for Rider High School’s Literary Criticism Team, a team which is UIL’s 2018 regional champions.
Preston is a Google Certified Educator, and her incorporation of technology in the classroom is the reason she is a finalist for Texas Computer Education Association’s (TCEA) High Impact Teacher of the Year. It is a state-wide honor.
Senior, Erin Wisch, plans to follow in her footsteps – even to the point of pursuing a teaching degree at Mrs. Preston's alma mater Midwestern State University.
Wisch said, “I’m not an entire AP student, but I’m surrounded by kids that usually have full schedules of AP. So I feel like I don’t always measure up. but she’s very intent on making sure that I feel comfortable and that I feel like I’m with the rest of the class. I appreciate not only the way she does that, but I take notes as to how she does it.”
Even if you tell Heather Preston that she is an example of excellence, a mentor, and has accomplished her goal of growth, she will tell you that she is striving to always learn new things – approaching life as the student and not the teacher.
“I never want to be complacent. I never want to say ‘This is as good as it’s going to get. I have peaked,’ you know, ‘It’s downhill from here.’ Yes, I have grown as a person. I’ve grown as an educator, but I think there’s so much more that can happen,” she said.
This year her word is “Be”. She chose is because she wants to “Be” many things: be a writer, be inspired, and be an inspiration to others.