Tina Tom prides herself in empowering students with knowledge and opportunities to explore science and gain a better understanding of their educational capabilities. Tom, a 7th and 8th grade general and accelerated science teacher at Chula Vista Middle was recently selected by her colleagues as the 2020 Teacher of the Year.
With fourteen years of teaching experience in the Sweetwater District, Tom says she sets high expectations for her students the moment they enter her classroom. “Everyday, my students are reminded of how kind, capable, and loved they are through voicing aloud positive affirmations,” says Tom. “I believe when students gain a better understanding of their capabilities, their limitations have no power over their ability to learn and excel in my class.”
As the first member in her family to pursue a college degree, Tom says she experienced the transformative power of education. “I pursued a career in education to ensure that all my students have the power and resources to transform their lives.” Tom believes with hard work anyone can thrive.
As a child, Tom embraced this mantra and strives to instill this belief in all of her students. “I believe teachers serve as that bridge to ensure students are aware and have access to these resources while guiding their ideas and visions,” said Tom.
In addition, Tom believes that educators have the power to connect students with resources to make a difference in their community. For the last five years, Tom has helped organize the Macy’s annual “Letters to Santa” for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. After being informed one of her students was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and wanted his classmates to participate in this program, Tom jumped at the opportunity to get the entire school involved. “Many students believed they were powerless due to their lack of money or resources,” said Tom. “But by completing the letters they realized what a beneficial contribution they had made to children in need.”
When asked what inspires her to do her best, Tom expressed her drive to learn, reflect, and grow on a daily basis. “It’s my students that motivate me to do my best, because I want to ensure that every student receives a high-quality education no matter their background or social-economic status.”
When she’s not providing her students with distance learning, Tom can be found sewing, gardening, walking her dogs and learning how to play the guitar.