- January 13, 2021
It takes a special teacher to make a difference in a student’s life, and that is exactly what Orange County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year award recognizes. At Citrus Elementary, kindergarten teacher Latanya Webb-Smith earned the accolade this year. Webb-Smith has been with OCPS for 13 years and is in her fourth year teaching at Citrus.
I love my students and my colleagues. They make the day, from sweet little greetings from the children to the words of encouragements and help from all of the staff members, teachers, office and cafeteria staff. I cannot forget the awesome custodial staff — they help with everything. They even keep me from being locked in when I stay late.
This is not a job — it is a lifestyle. When teachers are not in the classroom, we are preparing for being in the classroom. When shopping, items we see remind us of the things we need and want to do to enrich the students. I love when I see a student succeed. That is what it is really all about.
I grew up in a low socioeconomic neighborhood, and I had two teachers who spoke life to me. They provided keys that opened the doors; they taught me how to read the maps of life. I want to do the same for others. So I teach.
My past and their future. It drives me in each classroom, grade level and academic school year.
There have been so many things. It is hard to name just one — from (having them) helping when I scratched my car on a pole to standing in during a crisis. Recently, I shared my love of coin banks with my class. For Christmas one of my students gave me her own little bear bank, with the few coins still inside. Such love!
It would have to be the Grand Canyon. Nature is magnificent all by itself.
I already have one — I teach. Very few touch as many lives as we teachers touch.
I had a pet fish. He has swum off into eternity.
I wouldn’t want to see anyone special. People are people — I would, however, love to see another Broadway show.