KTEN Teacher of the Year: Ella Burkhalter

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KTEN Teacher of the Year: Ella Burkhalter

Olivia White, Reporter

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Teaching students takes an exceptional type of person. One of those people, specifically Van Alstyne teacher Ella Burkhalter, has gone above and beyond. With the three years that she has been at the high school, she has shown passion for learning that has left a legacy.

Burkhalter recently was the co-recipient of the KTEN and Texoma Chevy Dealers Teacher of the Year award. She was humbled to receive this award.

“My initial reaction when they told me I was the teacher of the year was shocked. I asked them if they were kidding. I was not expecting that at all, it was quite humbling,” Burkhalter said.

While some teachers teach by visual learning, or put their focus on verbal ways to teach, Burkhalter takes a different approach.

“I think kids learn by discussing. When you have kids more engaged and talking about it, it is fun and the best way to learn,” Burkhalter said.

Teaching kids can bring good days, but it can also bring days that one might want to rip their hair out. On those bad days, it is important to remember why you chose this path in the first place.

“The advice I would give beginning teachers would be to not give up. Some days it feels like everything is stacked up against you, and you really have to see the kids and how they are truly the reason you are teaching. You have to remember your purpose. The first year I taught, I think I cried more than I smiled that year, but it got better,” Burkhalter said.

Every teaching job has its fair share of flaws. However, sometimes the flaws have to do with the students.

“My least favorite part about teaching is trying to get some of the kids to truly believe in themselves. Some of the kids don’t see why they are special or unique, and that bothers me. Every kid is truly special. No kid should ever believe they are not worth it or important,” Burkhalter said.

Some teachers choose the teaching path because of their love for kids, while others choose it because they fell in love with the subject they are teaching. Either way, every teacher is appreciated.

“I chose to teach because I worked in a lab prior to teaching, and I wanted to have interaction. I truly love kids, and didn’t realize till I had my own. I thought, ‘Man this is fun,’ so then I went and got my masters, and I soon realized I won’t do anything else, ever,” Burkhalter said.

It is a big accomplishment in itself to take on the task of teaching students. Nevertheless, Ella Burkhalter has gone above and beyond to show love, patience, and passion when coming to work everyday. She is truly valued at Van Alstyne High School and a worthy recipient of KTEN Teacher of the year.