That’s certainly true for Samera Doroodchi, a fourth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Prairie View Elementary School in Northwest ISD.
But an honor unexpectedly materialized for DoroodShi on Sept. 29, when 94.9 KLTY morning show host Frank Reed called to tell her she had been named the station’s Teacher of the Month.
Tuesday, the three-year educator was recognized during Hawk Huddle, a morning school-wide assembly normally held every Monday, but postponed to Tuesday this week because of the student holiday.
“This is not just for Northwest, but the entire Metroplex,” KLTY Morning Show Producer John Rothwell told the crowd at the assembly.
The station teamed up with CareNow and presented Doroodchi with various prizes including a one-night stay at DFW Embassy Suites, a $100 Visa gift card, five-room carpet cleaning from Dalworth Carpet Cleaning and gift certificates to Fuller’s Jewelry, New Balance, McDonald’s Uncle Julio’s and for a facial.
“I’m very humbled,” Doroodchi said. “This was completely unexpected. You just do what you do, for the kids, not really expecting anything like this in return. The return you usually see is the impact on their life.”
Doroodchi was nominated for the award by the mother of a student, Jaden Lorenz, in September.
“She’s amazing,” his mother, Chella, said. “My son loves school because of her. We had a rough end to last year and a rough summer. He was not looking forward to coming back.
“But that has all changed,” she continued. “She has gotten him engaged. He’s happy to be here. He comes home excited to share what he’s learned. The kids feel like she’s one of them, but we feel like she’s one of us. I don’t know how she does it.”
In her nomination, Lorenz shared a specific instance that solidified her admiration of Doroodchi as a teacher.
“The second week of school she had a ‘funeral service’ where the kids each wrote some of the negative thoughts/words they’ve dealt with on a piece of paper (such as ‘I’m not smart enough’ or ‘I can’t do it’) and buried them,” Lorenz wrote. “The kids and teachers all dressed in black and made a big deal out of it. My son came home and told me he’d said goodbye to negativity that day. She is not just teaching academics; she is teaching them to believe in themselves and walk in confidence. And I know she is preparing my son for success in his school years and beyond.
“A good teacher makes all the difference for a kid, and we are so grateful we got Ms. Doroodchi this year.”
Excerpts of the nomination from Lorenz and another unknown parent aired on the morning show Oct. 1.
After graduating from Lewisville High School, Doroodchi earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of North Texas in Denton in 2010 and began teaching at Prairie View that fall.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until I was 19, when I had a life-changing experience that defined my relationship with God,” she said. “I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but after that, I realized teaching was the cry of my heart.
“Kids are the next generation,” she continued. “As a teacher, you have the opportunity to plant that seed in their life. And it won’t necessarily just impact them academically. I think it’s important to reach out to them in all realms. Whether it’s one kid, it makes a difference. These are our next doctors, leaders, journalists.”
But the humble teacher recognizes that making that impact is a group endeavor.
“This is a co-worker effort,” she said. “There are so many teachers with the heart to teach. They’re my support. They pour just as much of themselves, if not more. I just happened to be the one that was recognized.”