Terri Frazier

Second Grade Teacher | Redwater Elementary School

Teresa (Terri) Frazier has taught second grade at Redwater Elementary School for 35 years. She initially became interested in teaching because of her experience in second grade. “My second-grade teacher was a wonderful teacher. She inspired me to do my best every day. Her name was Mrs. Turner, and I remember to this day how she made learning fun. We would dance around the room and learn while moving around. We didn’t have to sit at our desks all day,” Frazier says. “I couldn’t wait to grab my book satchel and lunch and start my day with Mrs. Turner. I decided in second grade sitting in her class, that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.” 

Frazier started her teaching career in a self-contained classroom teaching all subjects, which she says was an excellent beginning for her. Then, her grade level changed to a rotation schedule where she only taught reading, which is when Frazier discovered another passion – helping kids learn to read and enjoy reading. “My passion is teaching reading. Students that struggle with reading face so many obstacles, and if a child cannot read, it affects every subject in school,” Frazier says. “My brother had dyslexia, and I saw his struggles with what comes easily for some and much harder for other students. He was extremely intelligent, so I could see his frustration and my parents’ frustration in helping him learn to read. It became my mission in life to help children learn to read.”

The most rewarding part of working with children for Frazier is when a child who is struggling understands and feels so proud of their accomplishment. “Basking in the joy of accomplishment is a great feeling that we share in my classroom,” Frazier says. “I always tell my class that we are a team and are so happy and excited for everyone’s success.”

The most challenging part of teaching is the need for more time to teach everything Frazier wants to teach. “Not having enough time is not anyone’s fault. It is just a fact that there are only so many hours in a day, and I have so many interesting and fun things to teach my students,” Frazier says. “I try to make each moment a teaching opportunity. Walking to the cafeteria or waiting on students becomes a time to play a game with vocabulary words and their meanings and a great teachable moment.”

Even for experienced teachers like Frazier, tough days in the classroom do happen. When she has those days, Frazier looks to her students for inspiration. “I always talk to my students, and second graders are hilarious. The stories they tell you and the funny things they say always cheer me up and really make my day,” Frazier says. “One day, my students and I stood in line getting ready for an activity. I felt cranky and overwhelmed by all I had to do that day. One of my students looked up at me with the sweetest expression and said, ‘You love us, don’t you, Mrs. Frazier?’ My heart immediately melted, and I immediately reassured her, and it was one of those self-realization moments that will always stay with me. When I feel overwhelmed, I remember that moment, and my heart and mind are refocused on why I am teaching these precious children to the best of my ability. I love them, and I love teaching.”

Frazier has no plans to leave education because she counts every student’s smile and success as a reward. “Redwater is also a great place to teach, which keeps me motivated. I have always felt supported by the other wonderful teachers there. The administration is helpful and wants the best for us and our students, and we have great students and parents,” Frazier says. “To be a teacher, you have to love children and enjoy them to be able to do this very difficult job. It is difficult but very rewarding.” 

As our world changes and it is changing more rapidly every day, Frazier believes that educators have to be very flexible. With technology and society’s changing needs, teachers must be equipped to adjust their teaching and goals to help their children succeed in life. “Teachers have to keep on learning and training to do their best. Being an older teacher, I have learned through the many years to be willing to try the latest program or research-based curriculum,” Frazier says. “Even when I feel something is tried and true, that next program or curriculum could contain some great teaching material to help my students be successful.”

One of Frazier’s greatest accomplishments was being chosen as Teacher of the Year at her campus. “It was such an honor and validation of all my teaching years. Since I am surrounded by professional and excellent teachers, I am very proud but humbled to be chosen,” Frazier says. “I am very blessed to be working with great teachers that inspire me every day to do my best.”

In just a few weeks, Frazier will have a new class of precious students and caring parents. Even though she has taught the same subjects and grade level at the same school for thirty-five years, every year is different and exciting. “I look forward to meeting new students and new parents. I look forward to building those relationships and helping every child be successful,” Frazier says. “I am so excited to start teaching them, loving them, and creating a caring and secure learning environment where they can grow and blossom.” 

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