VIDEO — Teacher of the Month Lan Lee shares lifetime passion, special moments

Published 12:38 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

NEDERLAND — When it came to career choices, there was never an option for Lan Lee.

“Ever since I was little, that’s just been what I wanted to do,” the Nederland Independent School District educator said. “There was never any question of if this was my plan. Teaching was going to be my job.”

It was a decision reinforced Wednesday when she was told she had been selected as Teacher of the Month sponsored by Philpott Motors. The designation comes with a $500 gift card.

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“She does so much, but her efforts go unseen because she’s always celebrating others,” said Hillcrest Elementary Principal Kevin Morrison.

Lee, a Nederland High School graduate, began her career teaching in the Port Arthur Independent School District for two years. Afterward, she worked for Goose Creek ISD. And now she’s back at her former school, where her third-grade teacher made a lasting impact.

“She’s always been so caring of everybody, but I just remember her just really loving on me,” Lee said. “She’s just that kind of teacher that you would hope your child has. That is exactly what I wanted to be.”

Now she enjoys teaching kindergarten at Hillcrest.

But she knows why it’s important to teach the youngest group.

“At the beginning it’s a little rough, but you get to see so much progress with the kids coming from not ever being in a school setting to coming to school for eight hours. You become kind of like their mom,” she said. “I love the group. They’re still so young, where they think you hung the moon. That’s so rewarding. They come with not a lot of knowledge, and by the time they leave you, they’re reading books.”

A particularly rewarding moment comes when she thinks of one her students who is now in second grade.

“He came to me for kindergarten,” she said. “He really did not speak to anybody. But when he came to me, it was hard for him to learn in a group setting, so I had small group sessions with him. He learned so much from that. And he still thinks I’m going to be his teacher every year.

“His mom still comes up to me and thanks me for everything I’ve done for him and the family. It is very rewarding to know that I’ve made such a difference — not only for him at that time but continually in his life.”