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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

'I'm here because I ultimately care for these kids' | Highlighting Austin educators before Teacher's Appreciation Day

It's been a tough year for Texas educators and KVUE is partnering with #TeachersCan in an effort to help teachers fulfill their classroom needs.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by TeachersCan.org.

After one full year of COVID-19 disrupting classrooms, some Austin-area teachers can't believe they've come this far. With Teacher's Appreciation Day on May 4, KVUE wants to highlight the people who have done so much for students, like Houston Elementary's Alma Reyna.

"I just always felt myself drawn to working with kids. So I just kind of went with it," said Reyna. "Honestly, kids are so funny. Kids are hilarious and especially right now during the pandemic where everything is just kind of somber and just everybody's kind of stressed out. The kids just make everything so much better."

Being in the classroom is what brings Reyna joy and she said she's been teaching for about seven years. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down for educators around the country. School districts everywhere were forced to spend millions on things like personal protective equipment. Not to mention the emotional toll it's taken on students, teachers, and parents. 

"I've been robbed of the experience and time with the kids," said Reyna. "It's just like, I feel like I haven't gotten to know them as deeply as I have gotten to in the past. Being able to assess where their needs are, since some of them are remote and some of them are in person, it just makes it hard for you to be able to see exactly where they are."

This year, Teacher's Appreciation Day means a bit more after one year of starting from scratch and learning to adjust. Reyna said she's tried to teach Austin ISD students as best as she could, considering the circumstances. 

"I feel like there's just this ongoing conversation where it's like, 'All teachers are superheroes.' But then, there's so many things that they're restricting us from because they think that we're superheroes and that we can do it all. In reality, there are things that we need support (with), you know, even superheroes need support.

"We're here because we ultimately want to. I'm here because I ultimately care for these kids and I want the best and I want them to succeed," said Reyna. 

KVUE is partnering with Teachers Can to raise money for schools. To see a list of teachers' projects and to donate, go to kvue.com/teacherscan. This donation link is open until May 4.

WATCH: First-year teacher begins career amid COVID-19 pandemic

#TeachersCan is a movement with more than 125 partners to help raise money for teachers. The goal is to reach $1.5 million to help fund teachers' classroom projects.

“The need for classroom resources is always high, but the impacts of COVID and the learning loss resulting from the pandemic have exacerbated the need for more support for our teachers and students,” said Dr. Shari Albright, president of the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, a #TeachersCan partner. “Over the last year, teachers have demonstrated incredible resilience, adaptability, and innovation, and now we hope Texans will join together to show our educators just how much we appreciate them.”

“If there’s one thing Texas teachers know how to do, it’s dream big for their students,” said Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose. “The #TeachersCan fundraising initiative has the potential to bring a large number of those learning dreams to life, helping teachers and students across the state access tools they need, from books to technology and beyond.”

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