Posted: Mar 24, 2013 9:19 PM by Heather Jackson - HJackson@kristv.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - Erika Vazquez, a fourth grade Bilingual teacher at La Encinos Elementary School said, "Ma always says, 'you know Erika, I could tell you had your little miniature board, you put your little brother and sister sitting down and would say, 'OK we are going to do this; we are going to play.''"
Now that Erica Vasquez is an adult and she isn't playing anymore; she's a fourth grade teacher at Los Encinos Elementary. Vazques was an immigrant who grew up in this school district. It's a special touch she feels makes it easy as a bilingual teacher. Another thing that makes her special is the hard work she puts into an annual field trip to San Antonio.
"I go to the businesses I ask for donations," Vazques said. "I stay after school and type letters and send them to the refineries, anywhere that I can get that extra little help to take our kids from our community, at Los Encinos and take them to that field trip that they are going to remember."
The second teacher of the year is from King High School. Ibet Caro sees herself as a second parent to her students.
Caro said, "When they start the school year I tell them I am their second mom: on them like white on rice."
One of her students says she's OK with that.
"It kind of helps if you really don't have technically any parents there," said Cristina Canizalez, a senior at King High School. "It actually helps that a teacher acts like a mom and then goes back to being a teacher."
It goes both ways, however. She lets the kids check her on a bad day too.
Caro said, "My mom is Mexican and my dad is Puerto Rican and so my dad is very argumentative. When that attitude comes out I say, 'ok you don't want the Puerto Rican to come out because we need to get back on track.'"
Caro says this openness pushes her kids to success. She ran into a former student recently who said she motivated him to get off drugs.
"He goes, 'I stopped doing weed be cause of you.' He is like, 'you let me know that you cared and I figured there was something else for me out there.'" Caro said, "So I just want you to know that I am clean, I am doing better, and I am getting a job."
Caro seems to be a natural and she's still going strong 13 years later.
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