For the past several years, KICKS 105 and Whataburger have been teaming up for our Teacher of the Day promotion.  East Texans are encouraged to go to the KICKS 105 website and nominate teachers for the daily honor.  At the end of each semester, one of those teachers is awarded a $1,000 classroom grant.

It has been a growing list:

And now, the latest to be added to that list is Gina Hodges, 2nd grade teacher at Temple Elementary in Diboll.  Danny Merrell, What-A-Guy, along with other representatives from the school and Whataburger surprised Mrs. Hodges while she was giving a 'Christmas Around the World' presentation to her class.  Needless to say, it came as a wonderful surprise as you can tell in the video.

Lexi, the daughter of Mrs. Hodges, was also in the classroom assisting her mom.  It was Lexi who submitted the nomination and wrote the beautiful words below:

"Mrs. Hodges is no ordinary teacher, she’s truly outstanding, amazing,and inspiring, and she’s got the stats to back it up. She has achieved the high honor of being nominated for (and winning) H.G Temple Elementary’s Campus Teacher of the Year (2x), Diboll Independent School District’s District Teacher of the Year (2x), Texas Tribute Teacher of the Month, and has been a team leader for 3rd grade and 2nd grade a total of 5 times. You don’t get these awards for just being your average run-of-the-mill boring teacher, no, you have to be something truly inspirational and special. You have to have been nominated by students,parents,peers, and others, to even be considered to be nominated. Since Mrs.Hodges has won these awards, then she must have inspired many people.

But she’s not only inspiring because of her awards, she’s inspiring because of the way she inspires/reaches her students. Mrs.Hodges is really great at differentiated instruction because she includes all student’s learning modalities in her lessons. From singing and dancing the content, to coming up with mnemonics, to doing hands on stem time.She also makes sure each student feels loved, important, and welcome in her classroom. She believes that each student can reach their full potential with a little love and guidance.

Mrs.Hodges also inspires her students to be good people not only in the classroom, but in their community as well. She takes the students to local nursing homes to perform Christmas carols for the residents to spread holiday cheer. While they’re there they also make crafts with the residents to keep as Christmas gifts, they also go and decorate each resident’s door to bring them some Christmas joy. She believes that this teaches students to think and care about someone other than themselves. Seeing the positive interactions between the residents and students is something that Mrs.Hodges says inspires her to want to keep the program going with each group of students that she will teach each upcoming years, and to come to the nursing home during different times of the year, not just Christmas. Keeping with the theme of community involvement, Mrs. Hodges also takes her students to the local animal shelter where the students get to: tour the shelter, visit with the animals, give the ir handmade toys to the shelter (and some of the pets), and once in a while they even get to name a pet. Because her students are young (2nd graders) they’re able to connect with the animals because most kids love animals and have pets of their own at home. With both of the activities mentioned above, the students get instant gratification, and get to experience in real time how the smallest of good deeds can make the biggest impact in a person’s/animal’s life. This year, she has started A Kind Kids Club. The students who join, are completing random acts of kindness throughout the year.

I waited until last to mention this, but Mrs.Hodges is my mom. She is inspiring because she is my mom of course. She inspires me to be the best version of myself that I can be. She has always supported me in everything I do, from coming to many recitals and plays, to always being proud of all my academic accomplishments, to supporting my decision to get my degree in education to become a teacher like her. Growing up with your mom being a teacher means that you spend a lot of time in classrooms, and spending a lot of time in classrooms means that I’ve gotten to watch my mom teach a lot. From a young age, I can remember watching my mom teach, and thinking “wow, I want to be just like her, I want to be a teacher too”. She really set the inspiration for wanting to be a teacher in me from a very young age.

To be honest, I’m nervous about becoming a teacher, I’m nervous that I won’t be any good. But I know that if I am ever struggling, I can always turn to my mom, both as a mother and fellow teacher. Because of her, I am inspired to become the best teacher that I can be, which will probably be only half the teacher she is, because she’s just that amazing."

In the Spring of 2019, KICKS 105 and Whataburger will be awarding another $1,000 classroom grant to an area teacher.  Those teachers who were nominated in the Fall are already eligible.  Please nominate a teacher or two or three for the KICKS 105 Teacher of the Day.  You can write as little or as much as you want in the nomination form.