Klein Cain English Teacher Takes Lessons Learned from Playtime to the Classroom
KLEIN, Texas – Klein Cain High School English teacher, Zina White, has always known that she was destined to be a teacher; however, she did not know just how impactful she would be.
As many kids do, Ms. White would play pretend when she was younger, and one of her favorite games was “school.” When she would play, she enlisted her sister as her student. However, what seemed like a fun game was much more for Ms. White and her younger sister.
“One of my inspirations to become a teacher was my sister, who has a hearing problem. I was her first teacher,” Ms. White said. “When I played ‘school’ with her, I was unaware how much of that benefited her then.”
Not only was this time together improving her sister’s performance on assignments, but it was also helping to correct some other issues in class, such as behavior.
“I think this helped because she knew the work; her problem was hearing the teacher,” Ms. White said. “Unfortunately, not hearing a teacher could be taken as ignoring a teacher.”
Ms. White’s experience with her sister was a two-way learning opportunity. As a result, she has learned that many behavioral issues can arise from underlying problems.
“It’s important for me to understand the problems before I work through the behavior. One of the aspects of my teaching style that I’m proud of is that I don’t write a lot of referrals,” Ms. White said. “I build relationships with my students, and they feel comfortable sharing with me; therefore, I eliminate difficult behavior.”
Ms. White has worked in Klein ISD for five years, recently transitioning from teaching 7th grade at Ulrich Intermediate to teaching seniors at Klein Cain and serving as a Student Council sponsor.
Coming into teaching at the high school level has been eye-opening for her. She notes that one of the significant differences between her intermediate students and high school students is how they interact in class.
“With intermediate students, it’s interesting because they’re starting to get a handle on their thoughts, so from time to time, they were very limited in our discussions,” Ms. White said. “Whereas at the high school level, the students are more mature. Our conversations and analysis of literature are interesting and have depth. Seeing them think things out or listening to their perspective is enjoyable.”
One of the things she most enjoys about her transition into high school is seeing her former students.
“Knowing that next year, my 1st-year 7th graders will be seniors is greatly anticipated,” Ms. White said. “I can’t believe they will practically be young adults when I see them. They can’t wait to be in my class, and I can’t wait to have them again!”
Thank you, Ms. White, for all you do daily for every student. We are so grateful to have educators like you!
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Klein ISD is a school district in Klein, Texas, located in northwestern Harris County. The district spans approximately 88 square miles and serves more than 54,000 students in 33 elementary schools, 10 intermediate campuses, one high school program of choice, and 5 high schools.
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