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Posted November 1, 2012

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The Joy of Discovery Inspires Gov. Bent Elementary Teacher

Tia Christmas is the Teacher of the Month for October.

Tia Christmas, center, holds up the Teacher of the Month check along with Gov. Bent Principal Kathy Gall and Adrian Chavez of Pepsi Co.

The surprise of discovery that she takes such joy in seeing on her students’ faces was the same look on the face of Tia Christmas this week. The Governor Bent Elementary teacher was named the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month for October.

“Yes, I was surprised,” Christmas said after the announcement was made in a staff meeting.

Surprise and joy inspired Christmas to become a teacher in the first place. When her son was in first grade and read an entire book to her for the first time, she said, “his eyes lit up. I wanted to see more of that.”

That’s when she realized she wanted to run her own classroom. Already an educational assistant at Comanche Elementary, Christmas completed the necessary coursework to earn her teaching credentials. She has been teaching first-graders at Governor Bent for the past four years.

“At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to have a plan and make sure that you meet each child’s needs,” Christmas said of being a teacher. “A hard day is still a good day. The work is rewarding.”

Christmas enjoys working with her students on math. In keeping with the season, they also have done a unit on bats where students learned facts and posted them on a bulletin board.

Pepsi and the Foundation present the monthly recognition for teachers. Award-winners receive $100 from Pepsi.

“Children are making new discoveries in APS classrooms every day,” APS Education Foundation Executive Director Phill Casaus said. “And it’s teachers like Tia Christmas who help these students expand their knowledge and see what the wide world offers. This is why we need to recognize our teachers.”

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