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San Angelo - In late April, McGill Fourth Grade Teacher Lisa Taiclet was in the middle of teaching her students when she was interrupted by her principal, Dr. Tia Agan from Angelo State in her capacity of serving as President-elect for TxATE, and Dr. Farrah Gomez, Deputy Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer at San Angelo ISD.
The interruption was to announce that the Texas Association of Teacher Educators had awarded her the Distinguished Clinician of the Year. The award is presented to a public school teacher who has demonstrated exemplary service in the field and in assisting in supervising student teachers and interns.
Taiclet was surprised by winning the award, saying,
“I did not know I was nominated. I didn't know anything about it.”
After the initial shock wore off, Taiclet said there was no greater honor in receiving the award from her peers.
“People who are so committed to public education in Texas take time out not just to teach and be administrators but also to attend conferences. When I received the award in San Antonio in early June, they talked about how they had a group that couldn't be there that day because they were lobbying. Those are the people who are committed To public education. And so it's an honor to be recognized by people who get it. It's very validating.”
Taiclet has been teaching at McGill for 26 years, the only campus she has worked at since being hired by SAISD. She even student-taught at McGill while still a student at Angelo State and lives in McGill’s attendance zone.
One of the best parts of the job for her has been working with clinical teachers (student teachers) and mentoring new teachers hired to teach at McGill.
“I've had some awesome ones (new teachers) move in next door to me. They’re new, and they have new ideas. Sometimes, you’re officially asked to mentor, and sometimes, it just happens. McGill is a special place, and it's very welcoming, and we all try to welcome people in. We want them to become part of our team.”
When asked how mentoring others helped her in her teaching, Taiclet said,
“Every new person that comes in, whether they're a clinical teacher or a fresh new teacher, they come in with fresh energy and new ideas that I would not have if I just closed myself off and was still the person that I was 26 years ago. They all come in, and they've got new ideas, and they've got the energy.
From being in school more recently, they have ideas and have seen new methods that I wouldn't have known without them.”
One of those newer teachers she mentored was one of her former students at McGill, which she said was awesome because that former student was a great one and is now a great teacher, even if she still struggles with calling her former teacher by her first name.
In reflecting on receiving the statewide award, Taiclet gave this parting advice to any clinical or new teacher.
“Get to know everyone that's already there. And soak up everything they can teach you. Just get with the team that you're put on and then form that community with them every way that you can and learn from them.”
Ryan Hernandez is a reporter for sanangelo.news, a new nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom for San Angelo. He can be reached at email@example.com