Teacher Appreciation: Retired lawyer Hubacker finds second career teaching ESL to adult students at Harris County Department of Education

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May 4, 2017 by HCDE-Texas

English as a second language teacher Harriet Hubacker found her second calling 20 years ago after retiring as a lawyer. Realizing she wasn’t ready for retirement, she returned to school for her linguistics degree with a goal to teach adult learners. On May 3, 2017, the Harris County Department of Education teacher received a bundle of bright flowers and a huge thank-you balloon from 30 of her students.

These are the moments teachers live for and remember forever.

Homemade cards of thanks tell the story of student gratitude. Her students knew few words in English before entering her classroom in the Spring Branch Community Center. Those once-foreign words are made familiar with each lesson. Slowly the words flow and sentences are formed, with subject-verb transition still a little unpolished.

“Been best teacher,” said one card crafted by an older learner. “Teach me English and been patient,” said another from student Fabiola Quintanilla. Other messages included “love my teacher” and “I am learning English.”

A second surprise came as Telemundo 47 reporter/anchor Antonio Hernandez visited the classroom to televise the story about the students’ appreciation for their teacher.

“I don’t know where you are at right now, but I know where you can be,” Hernandez said, relating a story of his struggles earlier in life.

“I don’t know what your past is, but your future starts today,” said Hernandez, “Come to school, learn a lot, and read everything. The more you learn, the better your life can be, and it starts right here.”

About HCDE Adult Education: With a 30-year track record, HCDE Adult Education provides classes to adult learners with a goal to “learn to earn,” including adult basic literacy and math skills, GED, English as a second language and vocational training. Classes are held in 35 community locations throughout Harris and Liberty counties as HCDE serves over 8,000 adult learners. Communities include Baytown, Alief, Channelview, Cy-Fair, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Katy, Klein, Pasadena, Sheldon, Spring Branch and Liberty. Corporations also benefit from HCDE services provided to English language learning employees aimed at improving productivity and safety in the workplace. For more information, access www.hcde-texas.org/adulteducation or 713-692-6216.

About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE helps school districts in the state’s largest county meet the needs of uniquely challenged learners, directly serving students at their schools or one of four HCDE-operated campuses across the county. Learn about these services and more at www.hcde-texas.org.

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