Coming full circle in her teaching career, Arp ISD grad Jennifer Mauldin returned to Arp, America for the 2021-22 school year.
And as she explains, in what "is probably the hardest month of the year to teach," Mauldin was voted by her peers and the district's administration as the December Arp ISD/KTBB Radio Teacher of the Month.
Taking "a great deal of pride to be home," Mauldin teaches third grade math and science at Arp Elementary in a classroom that she learned in as a little girl.
She is in her 14th year in education, having spent the last 13 years just down the road at Overton.
She explains that she didn't expect to teach Math when she prepared for a career in education. However, she now can't see herself teaching any other subject.
Mauldin is also highly appreciative of the award.
"As a teacher, you never really think you're doing enough or that maybe people don't notice what you're doing," said Mauldin. "And for them to name me as the teacher of the month is like the best feeling ever. It makes you feel appreciated, your hard work is noticed."
Since 2011, she's been a 4th grade homeroom teacher, teaching 4th grade math, science, social studies, and 5th grade math.
Prior to that, she was a paraprofessional, dyslexia teacher, and Response to Intervention Coordinator at Overton Elementary.
"In teaching there is never a dull moment. Every day is a new day," said Mauldin.
"I continue to teach for the "aha!" moments. There is something magical about helping another person grow in knowledge and understanding," she explained.
Mauldin has a Master's of Education with Educational Administration Specialization, which she earned from LeTourneau University in May of 2019.
She also has a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies from LeTourneau, graduating in 2012, and an Associate of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education from Tyler Junior College (2010).
Her philosophy of education is, "All children are unique and have a desire to learn. It is my job to meet them where they are and move them forward to reach their full potential."