Recognizing a “Torrific” Teacher


Sahana Talwar

Our very own McLean English 1, 8th grade ELA, newspaper, and yearbook teacher, Mr. Torres, has been declared one of the top five FWISD teachers of the year.

It all started a few months ago when Mr. Torres was announced teacher of the month by Mrs. Ozuna. Once a teacher is teacher of the month, they become eligible for teacher of the year for their school. Likewise, if a teacher wins teacher of the year for their school, they’re eligible to be teacher of the year for the district, which is exactly what happened to Mr. Torres.

At least 160 teachers who had won teacher of the year were invited to a reception on April 14th where they each received a cup that said their name and “teacher of the year” on it.

“They had some student musicians playing beautiful music, and they were passing little sandwiches and things like that,” Torres recalled.

First, Dr Scribner, the superintendent, had a drawing for gift cards to nice restaurants. While Mr. Torres didn’t win any, he had no idea that one of the biggest prizes awaited him.

The top five elementary school teachers were called up first before they announced that they would be calling the names of the top five secondary teachers.

“I knew they would call five names. They called four, and I was just kind of checked out. They called the fifth one, and it was my name, and I didn’t recognize it”, Torres remembered with a laugh.

After realizing that he was the fifth candidate for FWISD teacher of the year, Mr. Torres went on stage, and the rest was, “just a blur of people taking my picture and being on video camera.”

Being one of the top five secondary teachers in the district gave Mr. Torres even more to do. He and a few of his students have done interviews and even had one of his classes recorded.

One of his most important interviews was a twenty minute zoom call with a panel of five different people. Each of the people, who were all experienced FWISD educators, got to ask Mr. Torres one question. They also managed to ask him two additional questions with their extra ninety seconds.

“They asked me things like what was my biggest achievement in education,” Torres said.

Mr. Torres also had to have his picture taken, and he gave a few other interviews as well.

Aside from interviews, Mr. Torres had to have one of his classes recorded. He chose his 3rd period English 1 class. Before the class began, Mr. Torres suddenly had to change his lesson plans due to the camera man informing him that in many of the other classes that had been recorded, “they’ve been dancing, and singing, and running around.”

Instead of asking one of his usual attendance questions, Mr. Torres asked his class to show him their favorite dance move. They also did agree or disagree statements, and they got to move around the classroom depending on their opinion.

“It was interesting,” commented Manvi Sharma, a student in Mr. Torres’s 3rd period English 1 class.

“In a way it’s been hilarious. I didn’t expect to win teacher of the month, much less teacher of the year at my campus and then be nominated for teacher of the year for the district,” Torres reflected.

As for the future, we won’t find out if Mr. Torres is teacher of the year for the district until Thursday May 5.

He does have one thought to hold him until then. “I think when people do something that really matters to them, it only feels good to be recognized for doing a good job.”