One In A Million: December 2023: Elizabeth Robles


Name: Elizabeth Robles

School & District: Thew Elementary; Tempe Elementary School District

Grade(s) you teach: K-5

How many students in your class(es) this academic year? Total of 25

How long have you been a teacher? 12 years

What made you get into the teaching profession?
I was a former probation officer and saw firsthand how lost some juveniles were lost and troubled and wanted to find a way to be an influence in young lives.

Who was your most inspirational teacher & why?
My most inspirational teacher was my sixth-grade teacher who made me feel special every single day.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?
Support from colleagues and staff and overwhelming to-do lists.

How do these issues affect your day-to-day?
These issues can make one feel like they’re drowning and perpetuate feelings of desperation. Fortunately, I have had supportive colleagues this year but not all teachers can say the same.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?
It means that I can enhance my activities and add more flair with more creative supplies.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality?
Expectations of becoming a teacher encompass more than just getting a degree, Becoming a teacher comes with having infinite flexibility and compassion for the unexpected emotional days students might have.

Why do you think, teachers burn out so quickly?
Teachers burning out quickly can be attributed to several factors but I would say it’s either due to lack of support, excessive workload, and/or negative relationships with students.

Do you typically feel appreciated or recognized as a teacher?
I do indeed feel appreciated by my students but I have to say this is the first time I am being recognized as a teacher.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?
Words of affirmation and gifts of appreciation.

What are some of the most thoughtful & effective ways parents & the community can show gratitude?
Thoughtful gifts and recognition are always appreciated.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?
My wish is that each and every student is allowed the opportunity to learn according to their unique learning style so they’re able to flourish and showcase their strengths in the way they know best. On top of that, my wish is that they are loved, inspired, and reminded daily that they matter.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom & who do people contact if they want to help out?
I need more games that stimulate the brain like rubiks cubes, ozobots,

What types of items/prizes are meaningful to you to win/be gifted?
I like gift cards to spas or wellness centers and love Amazon gift cards.

What is/are your FAVORITE…

– Color?  Blue

– Food/restaurant? Pita Jungle

– Music/group/artist? Country, Luke Combs.

– Sport/athletics team? University of Arizona, Dallas Cowboys.

– Pastime/hobby?  Country swing dancing, sketching, calligraphy.

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+