Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Week: Christina Austin
JACKSON, Tenn. — Christina Austin, known as Crystie, gets up around 5 a.m. every day, excited to get to her classroom at Denmark Elementary.
“I know without a doubt that I was created to be a teacher,” Austin said.
Austin’s role is especially important for her with the challenges she has faced. Growing up, her family didn’t have much of an education. She said she had her first student when she was 5 years old, when she taught her grandmother how to read and write.
“I was the first person in my whole family to go to college, and so I had a lot of support from family,” she said. “I mean, when something is meant to be, it just falls into place.”
The best part, she says, is working with children.
“Kids are, like, awesome to work with,” Austin said. “I always said that if I ever stop doing it for the kids that I’d walk away, and it’s never stopped being about the kids.”
And her students support her just by showing how much they really care.
“They make me feel like a celebrity, you know, they really do,” Austin said. “They make me feel awesome. I could be having the worst day and walk in, and one of them is going to do something to make me feel like oh wow, it’s going to be okay today.”
Her 18 years as an educator is only the start of her teaching journey.
Austin says you will still find her walking into her classroom when she’s older.
“Every year my students, the group that I have, make their way into my heart. I didn’t go into teaching for the higher up or the administration or any of that. I like to be in my classroom with my kids, because my kids are the whole reason I’m here,” she said.
Austin will now be eligible for the statewide Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Month award. Starting in October, to vote for her or any of the other nominees, visit their website.
To nominate a teacher for our weekly award, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.