Micah Hunter was in a professional development session in August when her phone kept ringing, and ringing, and ringing. When she finally got a break, she checked the message and learned it was the Texas Directors of Field Experience notifying her she had been named the TDFE 2022 Clinical Teacher of the Year at the elementary level.
“I couldn’t contain my excitement,” Hunter said. “I told everybody in the PD.”
She formally received her award Oct. 9 at The Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education Conference in San Marcos. It capped off a process that began in April when she learned she was the University of the Incarnate Word elementary nominee for the Clinical Teacher of the Year. She had to submit a formal application with essays, lesson plans, and a video of a 30-minute lesson to be considered for the state-wide award, which included a $1,000 prize.
Hunter, a fourth grade teacher at Woodlawn Academy, completed her clinical teaching at Franklin Elementary last year. Originally planning to major in psychology, Hunter said it was an assignment in English class her senior year of high school that made her consider teaching.
“I had to write an essay to my favorite teacher,” Hunter said. “I wrote to my fifth grade teacher. As I was writing it, I realized she really did a lot for me, and I started thinking, ‘You know what? I think I want to be a teacher.’”
As she neared completion of her degree plan in Elementary Education at the University of the Incarnate Word, Hunter received her clinical teaching assignment — working with first grade teacher Patricia Maldonado Lopez at Franklin.
“Ms. Lopez was always very positive,” Hunter said. “Whenever she would give me feedback, she would always tell me the things I was doing great, and she really motivated me to keep working towards it. Teaching is not easy. There are a lot of learning curves, but she was always so supportive of me the whole way, and I really don’t think I would be in the position I am in without her support.”
Working through her clinical teaching semester, Hunter said she loved getting to meet her students and their families and building relationships.
“After that experience, I knew I wanted to stay with SAISD, so I was very happy that I was able to stay with the district,” Hunter said. “Human Capital Management did a really good job of saying, ‘If you want to stay in San Antonio ISD, we will work to find a job for you.’ I was very appreciative of that. It really helped me as I was graduating, since I wasn’t super stressed about being able to find a job.”
Since signing on as a teacher with the district this year, Hunter said she has received so much support. The New Teacher Academy in the summer helped connect her with other teachers in the same content area, and she has a mentor on her campus assigned to help her for the first two academic years. Even the Canvas class for new teachers helps her with frequently asked questions for the district’s new teachers.
“I have a great amount of support from my administration and the other teachers,” Hunter said. “I’m very appreciative of the support that SAISD has given me both as a clinical teacher as well as a new teacher. I tell my friends at UIW, ‘When you are choosing your school district you want to student teach at, consider SAISD.’”
A full grading period into her role as a fourth grade teacher, Hunter said she has enjoyed working with the older students, despite all the craziness the first year in the profession can bring.
“I think about where they are going to be,” Hunter said. “I think about their future and just knowing that I was a part of their journey, that’s what keeps me motivated. The stuff we are doing right now, this is a part of their history. Thinking about how they are going to be in the future, and how to support them to get them where they need to be is what keeps me motivated.”
She still keeps in touch with her cooperating teacher, Ms. Lopez, who could not be more proud.
“Ms. Hunter demonstrates exceptional work ethic,” Lopez said. “She gave our students something to look forward to. We are very proud of Ms. Hunter. We are very fortunate to have her in our SAISD family.”