From foster care to the classroom, 5th grade science teacher Ruth Giles says her childhood shaped her into the teacher she is today. She tells us she relates more easily to her students at Cornelius Elementary School because of the challenges she faced but also the support she got along the way.
“Before I went to foster care, I was not doing well in my education. My foster mom, Nancy, took the time to figure out how I learned. She figured out I’m good with memorization, flashcards, and practicing,” said Giles. “I would not be here without her today.”
However, it has been a difficult road these past two years. With tears in her eyes, Giles explains her foster mom, Nancy, passed away in January from Covid-19.
“She was such a great person. She has touched so many lives and we owe her so much,” said Giles.
Throughout her six years of teaching, Giles has always shared her experiences with her students in hopes of encouraging them to help others too. Now, more than ever, it’s important to her to continue sharing those stories to keep Nancy’s legacy alive.
“She was so proud of me. Every single time I had an accomplishment I told her, it is because of you,” said Giles.
Giles says she knows Nancy would also be proud of her nomination for alliantgroup’s SPARK Award. She says the best part of teaching science is helping her students view the world in a different way, just like Nancy did for her.
“When they (my students) come to you, they have a preconceived notion of the world and how they view things. So, when I come in, it’s a lot of fun because I can build on what they already know, or I can accommodate or simulate what they don’t know,” said Giles.
Giles is one of six Houston Independent School District (HISD) teacher finalists for the 2021-2022 alliantgroup SPARK Award. This award was created to recognize local teachers who are innovative in helping students learn about STEM. This year’s winner will be announced on May 26th.
About the author
Christina Bradberry is a former Emmy nominated News Producer turned Multimedia pro. She joined alliantgroup in the spring of 2022 after nearly a decade in the news industry. When she’s not showcasing alliantgroup’s work in the community and innovative projects, you can find her on the water paddle boarding or on the dance floor learning to ballroom dance.