On October 19, AP World History teacher Justin Felux recently received an award that, “recognizes Texas classroom teachers who have made exemplary contributions in teaching, curriculum development and extracurricular programming,” according to an article published by NEISD.
“The award is called the ‘Outstanding Teachers of the Humanities’ award, and it’s awarded by an organization called Humanities Texas, which is an organization that tries to promote the teaching of the humanity subjects in high schools,” Felux said.
Felux was presented with this award by U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith and Humanities Texas Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. In order to qualify for the award, there are several steps a teacher must go through first. This year there were over 450 teachers from across the state who were nominated, and of these nominees, 12 were presented with the humanities award.
“You have to be nominated by somebody, and so I think it was the social studies director of the district in Northeast that nominated me for it,” Felux said. “I had to write a bunch of essays and talk about what I do in my classroom, and get letters of recommendation from people. And you know luckily I won, so it was a cool thing to have happen to me.”
While the number of competitors was unclear to Felux at the time, the chance of winning didn’t seem certain in his mind.
“I know they give out 12 of them across the state of Texas, so I would imagine there is quite a few that apply for it, but I’m not really sure exactly,” Felux said.
The fact that the award was presented during one of his World History classes made it that much more of a memorable experience, Felux went on to say.
“It was really nice, and the fact that they did it in front of one of my class periods; it was cool for the kids to see it. I was just really happy,” Felux said.
Along with personal merit, Felux also received a $5,000 cash award as well as an additional $500 that was given to the school to, “purchase instructional materials,” according to an NEISD article.
“We get money for the school, which is really cool, because often times we’re kind of short on money, especially for buying instructional materials and things like that for the kids, and then I also got a cash reward for myself which of course is always nice,” Felux said.
The award brings many advantages, one of the most important being simply the satisfaction knowing that all of the work is paying off, adds Felux.
“I just think it feels good to have somebody acknowledge what you’ve been doing and to feel that you’re not putting in all this hard work for nothing over the years, and so it was just a nice honor to be recognized with,” Felux said.