Honoring Vanessa Cruz

Vanessa Cruz

Vanessa Cruz

Elementary Science Teacher

Fort Worth, TX

Vanessa Cruz teaches 5th grade at West Handley Elementary School in the Fort Worth Independent School District. She is the Science Lead at her school. She brings passion into her classroom and entices her students in her science class through hands on experiments. She is passionate about science and instilling in students a desire to learn. Ms. Cruz wants to provide opportunities for her students to succeed both in the classroom and outside. She emphasizes the importance of having qualities of empathy, compassion and understanding. In her classroom, students are free to engage in discussion about academics and other interests. Ms. Cruz makes an effort to connect with her students via their hobbies, favorite past times and sports. She firmly believes that students perform better if they feel adults around them care about what they have to say. Every voice matters and this is one of the reasons why she provides different ways to complete an assignment. Ms. Cruz is currently enrolled in the Master of Education with a STEM specialization in Southern Methodist University.

Why do you teach?

I teach to empower students and to help them realize their potential. It is my goal to help students meet their goals and seek the opportunities that exist. I also teach to give back to the community that helped me become who I am today. I teach because teacher believed in me. I do my job thinking of paying it forward and helping others achieve their dreams.

What do you love about teaching?

I love when students are engaged in their learning and wanting to participate in class. I also love when students tell me about their weekend, their fears and ambitions. The relationships you build as a teacher are the most rewarding aspect of teaching.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

My high school teachers at Manhattan International High School with their kindness, support and understanding made me feel like I wasn’t alone though I didn’t speak any English at the time. They encouraged me and made me realize we all had a lot of offer to the world as long as we worked hard and didn’t let obstacles deter us from our dreams.