SAN ANTONIO — Every time Leslie Galvan sees one of her many thank you notes, she gets that same old feeling from all those years ago.
“It was actually a moment when I was in first grade, kindergarten and I was helping a student that needed help. And when I helped that student and the smile was on her face, it just made me want to help kids."
Right then and there, 5-year-old Galvan saw her future.
And 34 years later today, she’s helping children like Xavier, Jazlene, and Camile prepare for their future too.
Xavier says reading used to be difficult and embarrassing.
“I would be in a class, I would read and get stuck and hold it right there, I didn't feel good. I felt embarrassed and I just stopped.”
But now he’s proud. Thanks to Ms. Galvan, Xavier says his reading level has drastically improved.
“I started out at second grade and now I’m 3rd grade. My goal is 4th and 5th.”
Leslie Galvan wins KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL award for Medina Valley ISD
Galvan is a reading specialist at Potranco Elementary. Some of her kids are dyslexic. Others just struggle with reading and if there's anything she can relate to, it's that exact same struggle.
“As a young girl, I had difficulty. So now I could relate with the students needing that extra help,” Galvan said, “but just, like, seeing these students and coming up to me and saying 'Thank you for believing in me and working with me.' That is more than any sort of money”.
It's what makes her connection with these kids so strong.
All grades walk through her classroom depending on their needs but more importantly, they all remember how they walked away, feeling good about themselves.
“When I give them that self-confidence, they’re like 'Oh I can do it',” Galvan responds, “Yes you can.”
And for Galvan, it’s a win-win because she says the feeling is mutual.
“This is kind of the same feeling I had when I was 5 or 6 years old,” Galvan said, “ They make me want to be a better teacher.”
And her advice to all new teachers is to be patient.
“The first year is going to be tough but as long as you’re above water, you’re good. It’s just sticking with it. It’s going to get better.”