Master Teachers: A series
The Beat has interviewed Master Teachers across the district to share their stories and introspections about their careers, including tips for teaching. Meet Master Teacher Chantrelle Lovett-Andrews.
Chantrelle Lovett-Andrews, a designated Master Teacher at Umphrey Lee Elementary, was born and raised in Fort Worth. She ended up working for Dallas ISD after attending a job fair in July 2002 where she was hired on the spot by Principal Rachel George at Julia C. Frazier Elementary School.
She is now in her 22nd year at Dallas ISD with a total of 27 years in education and said she credits her educational journey to her mother.
What drew you to education?
My mother will tell you that I have been a teacher since I was a toddler. During childhood, my pretend play was teaching my two younger brothers everything I knew even if it wasn’t right. She and my dad still give me a daily “I told you so” reminder that they knew I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. I never thought of being an educator. My mind was set on becoming a juvenile probation officer so I could be a changemaker. While pursuing my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, my mother always suggested that I take education courses as my electives, but I didn’t listen. Everyone deserves a second chance, and I wanted to be an avenue to help guide children back on the right path so they could have a brighter future.
But, of course, what you plan for your life is not always God’s plan. Due to a hiring freeze after graduation, I was unable to begin my journey. My mom suggested that I apply to become a substitute teacher. I took her advice and became a substitute teacher. That was 29 years ago. I worked as a permanent substitute in Fort Worth ISD for two years before starting my lifelong career as an educator. I guess the saying is true: mother always knows best!
How are you creating opportunities for students?
I believe all children can learn no matter what label has been placed upon them by physicians, parents, evaluations, or assessments. What good is it for you to believe children can learn if you don’t teach them like they can? If you teach every child everything and expect them to learn it, then they will achieve it. I am a professional educator who believes that we need to further our children’s educational abilities to be successful, opportunities for academic excellence exist, and student achievement is based on accomplishment and productivity.
What is your best teaching tip?
Don’t talk, act. Don’t say, show. Don’t promise, prove. Every move you make, do it from the heart and for the kids with passion! While at the district’s CILT training this summer, our illustrious associate superintendent for Region IV, Tanya Shelton, told us, “Your path is harder because your calling is higher!” That statement will forever be etched in my brain.
What would your students be surprised to find out about you?
I was a troop leader for the Boy Scouts of America.
What inspires you the most about being an educator?
Being an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teacher motivates me to go the extra mile to ensure our students with disabilities receive as rigorous an educational experience as their peers. Children appreciate you more when they know you genuinely care about them and want to see them be successful. It makes me proud when a parent of a previous student contacts me to thank me for everything I did for their child and gives me credit for the extraordinary gains he/she is continuing to make years after leaving my classroom. It confirms that I am impacting lives and making a difference. My calling is to instill a positive change in the lives of our children so that they will become productive citizens.