#WordsofWisdomWednesday- Week Fifteen

As we transition from our hybrid model back to virtual learning, we still continue to be so impressed with the creativity and passion our teachers are showing to build relationships with students in a virtual setting. The insights and observations of our teachers at Tempe Union High School District emphasize how our teachers have continued to demonstrate incredible resilience. This week in our #WordsofWisdomWednesday campaign, we hear from one of our CTE Content Specialists, Alicia Cox.  

Alicia reflects on starting with us as a new teacher to TUHSD and saying, “As a District Content Specialist for CTE, the BIGGEST challenge I have had to face coming into the TUHSD community in the middle of a pandemic is how to build trusting and authentic relationships with teachers and staff in a completely VIRTUAL environment. Just last spring at the start of the pandemic I was a classroom teacher! Now, as a new employee in TUHSD, in a new position, in a new school district, in a completely new teaching platform, is a challenge in itself!

Given this challenge, we wondered how Alicia built relationships with colleagues in this virtual setting. She shared her creative thoughts, “To get to know my colleagues in this virtual setting, I have introduced the theme of SUPERHEROES! In our CTE department I asked my team members to share their favorite superhero or character and created individual name tags or their office windows. To celebrate birthdays decorating a team members office door to see their face light up with absolute delight when they return to work the next day is the best!

Alicia continues, saying, “The POWER of transparent relationships and effective communication has taught me a lot about myself. How could I ever reach the teachers I am responsible for supporting professionally if I am not intentional and attentive to the importance of email etiquette, validation, acknowledgement, and expressing my gratitude? I may not directly interact with our students but I believe the care and respect I demonstrate with our teachers somehow precipitates into the classrooms.”

We asked Alicia what words of wisdom would you offer to other teachers in our district and she said, "You're not expected to save the world but you can save YOUR world. Build individual relationships BEFORE building content demands. The content will ALWAYS be there, but the moments to build relationships with students are fleeting opportunities. Make the most of these."

To listen to more of her words of wisdom, watch her special video message.