Teaching Future World Changers

Today’s Contributor: Laura PerezImage from iOS.jpg

This is Laura’s third year teaching fourth grade at Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy. She prides herself on being born and raised in Austin – a true Austinite! In her free time she enjoys spending time exploring the city with her husband and 9 month old daughter. Connect with Laura on Twitter @mscombs4th

On August 8th, our first day back from summer break, our principal had us write a letter to our future selves as an exit ticket. We were told we would being opening these letters in October during our District of Innovation day, which if you’re a teacher you know that October is the most stressful and exhausting month of the school year. (I think he planned that purposefully…) Our principal asked us to answer three questions in that letter to ourselves:

  1. What is your “why” for doing this work?
  2. What do you look forward to most at the beginning of the school year?
  3. What will you do to make your students and families feel at #AISDhome?


  1. What is your “why” for doing this work?

My “why” was simple – I was born to be a teacher. It is all I ever wanted to do growing up, and I never strayed from that idea once. I feel passionate about growing children to be future world changers and creating in them a lifelong love of learning. I love finding new ways to engage students. I love watching that “lightbulb moments” my students have when something finally clicks and they get it for the first time. I love help students recognize their feelings and work on their social and emotional skills. I love that every year is unlike any other with new challenges, new classroom dynamics, new excitements, and a fresh start.


  1. What do you look forward to most at the beginning of the school year?

I’m that teacher that LOVES setting up her classroom. I love putting up bulletin boards, arranging the desks and furniture, labeling book boxes, and making login cards for my students I look forward to it all summer and can’t wait to get back in the classroom. I also look forward to setting goals for the new school year. The goals I set for myself this year were:

  • Morning Meetings every day no matter what
  • Incorporate Growth Mindset into everyday conversation with students
  • Use BLEND and technology to enhance student learning and engagement as much as possible
  • Two words: SELF CARE


  1. What will you do to make your students and families feel at #AISDhome?

This one is a big one for me. I always try to make my classroom feel like a home. I have lamps instead of flourescent lighting, music playing, a diffuser going, a couch, and lots of comfy chairs and pillows. I truly love my students and they ensure that they feel loved and safe anytime they are in the classroom or around me. I focus on having a positive relationship with parents and partnering with them for their child to be successful. My motto is this: Welcome everyone. Be an example. All means ALL.

When I opened my letter up on October 5th I couldn’t help but laugh at how excited and energetic I had been at the beginning of the school year. I am happy to say that, so far, I am meeting most of my goals, but still have some work to do. Incorporating technology in the classroom is always a goal of mine at the start of each school year, but this year I told myself I was really going to do it and not let anything get in the way of that. Well, days passed, and a series of unexpected events strayed me away from following through with fidelity.

Since opening my letter I have begun making steps towards using more technology to enhance student learning and engagement. It almost feels as though it is the start of the year with this new found excitement I have for implementing my goals. Just this week I created a project on BLEND for students to choose a nonfiction text feature and work with a partner to make a presentation on Google Slides giving examples of their text feature and why they found it important. The excitement in the room was evident as I told the students about this project. They were so excited to get to show their learning in this avenue. They were engaged 100% of the time and even asking if they could work on it during recess.


My students excitement and engagement brought me back to where it all began… my “why”. I am teaching future world changers and instilling in them a lifelong love of learning.





  1. This is a great idea! What a wonderful way to imagine the joy and focus coming off of summer in the deep ditches of October. I bet this reinvigorated your teaching.

  2. This is great! Your principal was really smart to do that and I think it shows he is planning ahead to keep up the teachers moral. I know when October hits, I forget all my exciting goals for the year and am just trying to get to Thanksgiving Break! This month our Assistant Principal put together a December calendar that everyday we have something to do for self care. Some examples are: today we have a hot coco bar, yesterday we wore plaid shirts with jeans, and next week we will have hot cider for the teachers all day in the library along with staff participating in a baked goods potluck. Thanks for sharing this! I am going to share this with my principal.

  3. Would love to see a middle of year follow-up for your self-care and technology work! I know that once October rolls around there is no slowing down and sometimes our beginning of the year excitement starts to slow. I hope you are doing well and are ready to dive into some winter break self-care!

  4. I love how you tied in what your campus did at the beginning of the year, as it reminds us to look back on our goals and “whys” when we hit that hard part of the school year. Self-care is also something that I am working on this year, which I have to remind myself to do often, as I spend a lot of time trying to make better technology lessons for my students at home when I feel that class can become more engaging.

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