SAN ANTONIO — Hoffpauir received $1,000 from our KENS 5 partner Credit Human as part of the EXCEL Award.
Geckos and tortoises "take care of my lovely animals,” said Carrie Hoffpauir as she unlocked one of her four terrariums in a small corner of her classroom.
It’s not exactly your typical reading class "This is prince and his favorite thing is just to hang out,” then again, Hoffpauir isn't your typical fifth grade teacher at Barbara Jordan Intermediate School.
Her teaching ways are untraditional but they work. The animals help her build that special connection “Especially if the Geckos come out, the whole room erupts.”
But it’s not always about the animals.
“The power of yet. You don’t know it yet, you will get it though,” Hoffpauir said as she pointed to a poster she has in her classroom. It’s her reminder to the kids to never give up.
Her students said when they first walked in her classroom, they did not like to read but that has all changed because of Hoffpauir.
“We read this book called restart after that book, I realized books are really cool,” said one 10-year old.
Another quickly added he knew the importance of reading, "If you want to get a job you have to look on the window to see if they're hiring. "
Now It’s easy to see confidence in their eyes. Hoffpauir says she works hard every day to build them up and build that relationship with them.
“It's not going to be yelling and screaming. It's going to be compassion and grace and love,” Hoffpauir said, "If I show you respect, they show respect back and it builds that bond."
That bond was undeniable when KENS 5 Anchor Sarah Forgany presented Hoffpauir with KENS 5 EXCEL Award.
Still, Hoffpauir understands not every day is sunshine.
Her most recent project sheds some light. In anonymous sticky notes, the children get candid with the one thing they want their teacher to know, sharing some of their deepest struggles said Hoffpauir as she read some of the notes.
"I wish we can work together and be the best,” read Hoffpauir, “I wish my teacher knew I hated reading and writing."
Some of the messages talked about home life "just about parent life and he put his name on it because he wants me to reach out to him,” Hoffpauir added, “another note said she's struggling between making sure that her cheer life and her school life are balanced ."
Balance is something Hoffpauir herself can relate to, juggling actual reading lessons and that social emotional learning she says she values most.
"If I know you and I know what you struggle with or something that is amazing about you, I can teach you better."