Master Teachers: A Series

Master teacher Michael Chang first came to  Dallas ISD in 2018 to teach fourth grade math and science at Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School, where he continues to impact students’ lives. Prior to coming to the district, he taught math and science in Tulsa, Okla., and is now in his 10th year as an educator. He is originally from Manitowoc, Wis., and graduated from Marquette University in 2014. 

What drew you to education?

Born and raised by immigrant parents in a low-income family, I was always told by my mother that education was the key to break the cycle of poverty in which my parents and grandparents lived. My junior high school principal once told me that she hopes I come back home after college and give back to my community. I was blessed to have had teachers and sports coaches who provided me with the support that led me to be the first in my family to graduate from college. Although I did not move back home after college, I believe I was drawn to teaching as my way of giving back to the community in which I serve. It takes just one teacher to make a meaningful difference in a student’s outlook on life. If I can be that teacher for my students, I will have fulfilled my duty as a teacher and my role as a changemaker.

How are you creating opportunities for your students?

I create a safe space for my students to be honest and vulnerable with themselves, in order for them to grow as a student and as a child with goals. I work closely with them to set social and academic goals. Then, I instill in them a growth mindset to be able to handle mistakes and setbacks and view them as opportunities for growth.

What is your best teaching tip?

Building strong relationships precedes students’ social and academic growth and success. Take the time to talk to students outside of instructional time. Ask them questions and watch their curiosity peak. Listen and show interest in what they share with you. Follow through with the things you tell your students you will do. Doing so will lead them to perceive you as someone they can trust, and thus they will feel cared for and heard. If students respect you as their teacher in the classroom, they will want to learn anything from you

What would your students be surprised to find out about you? 

In the spring of 2017, I was featured on Fox 23 News in Tulsa for receiving the Golden Apple Award. This award recognizes teachers who display commitment and excellence. I share the video with my students at the beginning of every school year to set the tone–that if they put forth their best effort and strive for growth, they will have the mindset and habits to be successful beyond my fourth-grade class.

What inspires you the most about being an educator?

What inspires me the most about being an educator is the daily opportunity I have to bring positivity and joy to my students despite how they may be feeling or going through outside the confines of school. They spend a third of their day at school, so if I can make their day better, then that’s an opportunity I will always take.

¿Sabes acerca del depósito directo?

Los miembros del equipo de Dallas ISD pueden recibir su salario directamente a sus cuentas de banco y puede hacer cambios en línea a través de Oracle utilizando la opción de Human Resources/Payroll Employee Self-Service. Para realizar cambios, pulse en Employee Self-Service, seleccione el folder de Payroll Information, y pulse en el enlace de DISD Direct Deposit. Los empleados deben de estar dentro de la red del distrito o conectados a través de VPN para acceder al enlace. El Departamento de Nómina no aceptará correos electrónicos o faxes con la nueva información bancaria. El banco del distrito imprime cheques de nómina y los envía por correo a aquellos empleados que actualmente no están registrados para depósito directo. Alentamos a los empleados a asegurarse de que su dirección esté correcta en el sistema o configurar una cuenta de depósito directo.

Four pillars of mental fitness

The importance of physical fitness in maintaining healthy and vibrant lives has been well researched. What is not as well known is that mental fitness is equally important. In fact, the two are intertwined. Supporting your mental health can make you more resilient to life’s ups and downs and more likely to make positive lifestyle choices. Likewise, if your body is functioning well, you’re in a better position to achieve mental fitness.

What is mental fitness?

Just as there are four components to physical fitness—cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and a healthy weight—there are four components to mental fitness. 

  • Emotional. This includes self-acceptance, self-esteem, resilience, and the ability to manage strong emotions.
  • Social. Friends are important because they bring companionship, support, and enrichment to our lives. Considerable research has shown that people who have friends are generally physically and emotionally healthier and enjoy a better quality of life.
  • Financial. A substantial number of people experience stress due to money issues. Financial wellness is not about having a certain amount of money at your disposal; it’s about feeling in control of your finances, being able to handle financial setbacks, and being on track to achieve your financial and life goals.
  • Physical. Mental and physical fitness and health are intertwined. You can improve both through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep. You can also reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.

Taking steps to build your mental fitness can boost your ability to cope with stress and improve your physical health, productivity at work, relationships, and overall happiness. If you would like more support as you work to build your mental fitness, contact Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program or visit  ​​

Source: LifeWorks

Going from teacher to librarian 

Library Media Services is excited to present a series of meetings for Dallas ISD teachers who want to learn more about library sciences. These informative talks will feature representatives from major colleges with well-known school librarian programs, providing insights and information for educators interested in pursuing a career as a librarian.

All meetings will be held remotely. Join on the dates and links indicated below to take the first step toward a new career. All sessions take place from 5 to 6 p.m. 

Virtual meeting schedule:

  • SHSU virtual meeting link – Feb. 12 
  • UNT virtual meeting link – Feb. 15  
  • TWU virtual meeting link – Feb. 20  
  • SHSU virtual meeting link – March 20 
  • UNT virtual meeting link – March 26 
  • TWU virtual meeting link – April 4 

If you have general library questions or questions about these meetings, email Tabatha Robb at or go to Library & Media Services.