Voices of IDEA provides an opportunity to highlight and amplify diverse voices among IDEA’s Team & Family. From students, to staff, family and partners, Voices of IDEA profiles the impact, experience and perspectives of individuals who shape our mission and support scholars on the road to and through college.
In this Voices of IDEA feature, we’re excited to honor the contributions of our Team & Family through the voice and perspective of Desiree Wilson, Kindergarten Teacher at IDEA Lake Houston, as she shares her inspiration to become a teacher and the impact a teacher can have in the classroom. World Teachers’ Day is October 5th. We celebrate the achievements, contributions and influence of teachers at IDEA and beyond.
“A Teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, teaches a heart and shapes the future of our world.” – Unknown
Desiree Wilson knew, unlike her parents, the military was not in the cards for her. She traded in her “military brat” card for a Prairie View A&M University student ID with the mission to follow the suit of her family’s long line of educators.
Now, as a Kindergarten teacher at IDEA Lake Houston Academy in Houston, TX, she’s committed to being on the frontlines for her students every day to see them succeed and grow.
“Kindergarten is the foundation and so you have to teach them life skills,” she says. “I really want to see them become the best they can be.”
Desiree’s love for children always ran deep. At a young age, as the oldest kid living in her grandmother’s home, she often volunteered to babysit her younger cousins while her grandmother took care of errands. The selfless act always filled her with indescribable joy.
That same joy feeds her lovable, kind and patient spirit as she plants the seeds of knowledge within her Kindergarten gators at IDEA Lake Houston. Today, as IDEA Public Schools and the world honors teachers on World Teachers’ Day for their inspiration, knowledge, perseverance, and commitment to providing education that enhances people’s quality of life, Desiree reflects on the Prairie View theater professor who greatly impacted her life.
“Ms. Wilson shared with me her rough background story and how she worked hard to accomplish the things that she has in her life,” she says. “It really made me realize that you can really do anything you put your mind to.”
Desiree kept that same mindset of strong will in her classroom. Her compassion was at the forefront when the pandemic hit and caused what she described as the “chaos” her students experienced during an unprecedented year, when they simply wanted to enjoy their kindergarten journey.
With a master’s degree in special education, and the life changing experience of teaching autistic children post-college, Desiree understands the power of compassion in the classroom.
“Sometimes my students have it rough at home,” she says. “You don’t know what they’re going through. So I want to be that person that they can come to and look up to.”
Her mantra is to be intentional with all that you do. So, her lessons go far beyond ABCs and 123s. She aims to teach life and character skills and intricately weaves them into her instruction. As her students learn their shapes and colors, Desiree helps them build self-confidence and independence, life lessons that will follow them far beyond the colorful walls of her kindergarten classroom.
“Some of my students did not attend Pre-K and so they didn’t know their ABCs or numbers,” she says. “I had to start from scratch and find different ways to grab their attention and help them memorize it.”
Her greatest accomplishment is pouring into her students, building them up and helping her students develop a “can do” attitude.
That is the growth she wants to see in each and every student she teaches.
Growth she seeks daily for herself.
One of her biggest motivators is her IDEA Team & Family. Desiree can relate with her students because at IDEA Lake Houston she is always a student, learning how to improve her methods and mold minds better than the day before.
“I appreciate the feedback I receive in real-time at that moment, and not after the lesson is complete because I know what I need to improve on in order to help my students out,” she says. “Anytime I need support I can reach out to someone and that makes all the difference.”
As IDEA celebrates and recognizes its passionate and committed teachers on World Teachers’ Day, we know teaching is not for the faint of heart.
To her IDEA colleagues who are in the trenches fighting the good fight she says, “Stay encouraged, stay motivated. You’ve got this! I know it’s stressful and hard sometimes, but just think about the outcome and the minds you’re shaping. You’ve got this!”