Texas Tech University

Teacher's Mission: Unlock the Joy of Reading for Everyone

Lenzi Hart

Lenzi Hart teaches eighth grade English and high school public speaking.

By Leslie Cranford,Section Manager

Lenzi Hart teaches eighth grade English and high school public speaking.

For most of her 22 years of teaching, Lenzi Hart has had one mission: to unlock the joy of reading for everyone. As a fulltime teacher for TTU K-12, Hart has the opportunity to pass on that gift to students near and far.

Hart teaches eighth grade English and recently began teaching high school public speaking. She has been an eighth-grade English teacher for most of her career but spending the last four years teaching high school English III and AP Language and Composition face to face. This year she left the traditional classroom to teach for TTU K-12 full-time.

As a mother of four, the flexible working schedule initially attracted Hart to TTU K-12, but after learning more about the program, she discovered more reasons to be excited.

“When I learned more about the faculty and students, I was excited and motivated to become a part of such an innovative and reputable award-winning program,” Hart said. “This was one of the first programs in the state to offer remote learning opportunities for students.

Hart explained that long before COVID forced everyone in education to think outside of the box in terms of online learning, TTU K-12 had been doing distance learning since the early ‘90s. The more I learn about this program, the more impressed I am at what they've enabled students to achieve both academically and outside of the classroom. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of,” Hart said.

Hart family

As a busy mom of four, Hart loves the flexibility of teaching for TTU K-12.

Hart family

As a busy mom of four, Hart loves the flexibility of teaching for TTU K-12.

Hart's guiding philosophy as an educator is that all students deserve a quality education, but each student has individual needs that must be met for them to obtain the education they deserve.

“As a teacher, I firmly believe that I have to uncover the needs of each student and to meet them where they are in their educational journey,” Hart said. “I also believe in the incredible power of reading for enjoyment and want to open up that world for my students, especially at a time when reading for fun and entertainment is falling to the wayside due to other distractions. If I can help a student unlock the joy found in reading, I've given them a gift that will reward them for a lifetime.”

But coming from a traditional classroom background, Hart says the biggest challenge adjusting to teaching online is connecting with students and establishing relationships with them.

“Through assignments that promote discussion, virtual interaction and open communication, I hope to bridge this gap that can often be an issue in online learning,” she said. “I love it when students log in to office hours and simply show up to chat and ask questions about our harder assignments. These positive interactions are bright spots in my day!”

Even as there are challenges, though, Hart said the rewards are great, as she witnesses the transformative impact of learning and knowledge. Watching children blossom when they discover that they are readers and that they do love to read is incredibly fulfilling to her. She also has tried continuously to create the best learning environment for her students.

Hart family

Hart with her husband and two of her daughters.

Hart with her husband and two of her daughters.

“For most of my career I've taught eighth graders, and during my many years of face-to-face teaching, I tried so hard to make that time filled with positive experiences,” she explained. “I planned many field trips, created many engaging lessons, and constructed as many happy, positive interactions for them as I could within the walls of my classroom so that a typically hard and trying year for most kids was a joyful, positive year in their lives.”

With her passion for reading and education, no one is surprised that Hart's best advice, even to her own children, is about welcoming and engaging in their academic journey.

“Embrace the process of learning; don't complete assignments just to check a box! Truly try to take something with you from each assignment and lesson,” Hart said. “Embrace your own curiosity as well and pursue learning outside of the confines of a classroom, because typically, these interests can open doors you never thought were possible.

“Stay curious and approach every learning opportunity with an open mind, and never stop reading. Read every day — before bedtime is the best time — because your brain needs the challenge and books are the best way to learn through another's experience, which builds our own empathy and compassion, two emotions quality human beings cannot have too much of.”

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