June 4, 2019 by HCDE Communications
Soft-spoken teacher LanVy Tran’s classroom runs like a well-oiled machine. Students transition from one workstation to another with confidence, trading iPads for pencils and papers where students can use virtual manipulatives. Like runners stretching, fourth-grade minds warm up as Tran asks for predictions as numbers are placed on a grid.
In the classroom of 21 at Burbank Elementary in Houston ISD, no one is redirected or reprimanded by the second-year teacher. All are engaged on the math and science front.
Tran was enrolled in Harris County Department of Education’s teacher alternative certification program for seven to 10 months in pre-service training, taking teacher preparation courses. The next 12 months were spent teaching and taking additional courses. Mentors such as HCDE’s Director of Math Curriculum Nicole Shanahan helped her along the way and are still here for her today.
“I was with HCDE for about two years and they gave me plenty of tools and advice to prepare for teaching,” Tran said.
Since 2007, HCDE’s Educator Certification and Advancement (ECA) Division has helped college graduates and second-career seekers to transition into teaching. For the past seven year the teacher preparation program reports a 99 percent pass rate for students completing courses and taking the certification exams, according to Lidia Zatopek, director for HCDE’s ECA. The division also trains and prepares principals for certification. Recently it added the Superintendent Certification Institute to help further elevate school leaders.
Tran is confident, well-organized and patient, three traits that go a long way in the teaching profession, said Shanahan. Even though some of a good teacher’s traits are inherent, most are learned.
“I had amazing mentors at HCDE whom I still lean on for support,” Tran said. “My mentor Ms. Shanahan has been wonderful and taught me a lot about engaging activities and classroom instruction. I go to her math workshops and enjoy making workstations for my students, and they enjoy the activities.”
The best part of teaching, Tran said, are the “ah-ha” moments when her students make connections between theory and practice.
“Then they say, oh, I see now Ms. Tran,” she said.
HCDE is recruiting teachers for its Teacher Alternative Certification Program. For more information, go to www.hcde-texas.org/teacher-and-lead .
(LanVy Tran was recently nominated for the Texas Alternative Certification Association Intern of the Year Award. Winners will be announced this summer.)