Mr. Thomas

Grades Taught: 

Kindergarten ( 1 year )
First grade ( 1 year )
Second grade ( 1 year )
Third grade ( 1 year )
Fourth grade ( 5 years )
Fifth grade ( 4.5 years )
7th grade Social Studies ( 1.5 years )

8th Grade

Currently Teaches: 5th Grade

Years teaching: Going on 15

Years at Telesis:  8 years

Also Taught at:

Emerson Elementary in Mesa, AZ

Barbara Bush Elementary mesa, Az

Native American Reservation School

Degrees held:

AA degree from Mesa Community College
B.S. Degree Parks and Recreation N.A.U
Teaching Certificate/Masters program Chapman University ( all course work completed )

Campus Involvement:

Parade committee

Team leader


Arizona and California Teaching Certificate

Completed student teaching program

Social Studies Credential


Q. What has been your favorite grade to teach? Why?

A. My favorite grades to teach are 4th and 5th grade. I really enjoy the humor and innocence of this grade level/age of students. They enjoy school, they are kind, and they still adore their teachers.

Q. Why did you become a teacher?

A. My mom was a teacher, so I grew up within a school atmosphere. She taught 4th and 5th grades as well. 

Q.Why do you like teaching?

A.  I enjoy the kids’ sense of humor. I like the interaction with the kids. I find it to be such an interesting profession, not to mention, we get summers OFF !!

Q. How does the profession give back to you when teachers give so much?

A.  At the beginning of every year I think that I am about ready to retire, but as the year goes on I just start liking it more and more. Then you have all summer to recuperate from the daily grind. I just really enjoy teaching.

Q.What’s the most important thing you want your students to take away from you or your class?

A. I think grammar is really important. I think it’s important to give them a life-long ability to communicate with others. Understanding grammar affords them that opportunity. We also talk a lot about life lessons. Some kids don’t have parents to model for them, how to be honest, how to be kind, or how to be a good friend, so we talk a lot about that.

Q. How do the kids respond to those discussions?

A. We do “Good Things” where we talk about something good that has happened to us recently. With some of these kids’ “Good Things” can turn into somewhat of a heavy discussion. For example, a student of mine talked about being happy to finally get a real bed, because he had been sleeping on the floor for months following his Dad’s departure from the family.  So, it’s these types of conversations that remind me the importance of empathy. I truly believe that one’s success as teacher has a direct link to their ability to have empathy for their students.

I think today’s kids are a lot more advanced when it comes to talking about feelings, far more advanced than I, at this age !  Sadly, kids are being forced to grow up faster, and in turn deal with adult issues, at a far younger age.  

Q. Who inspires you?

A. My better half of 20 years, who is just a naturally kind person. I have to remind myself to be kind at times ( lol ).

Q. Do prior students come back to talk to you? What do they say?

A. One of the best experiences was born out of a forced situation. Years ago, I was required to teach kindergarten, and it was far outside of my comfort zone. I did a year of kindergarten and then progressed with those students through 5th I’ll be connected to those kids forever because, you know, it’s like family – like nieces and nephews. I was close to their parents. It’s a very special thing. They stop by to talk to me all of the time.

When they kids do stop by to say “hello”, there is a lot of humor.  We laugh and joke around – good stuff like that.

One last story, years past I was driving on a main road in Mesa and as I passed a landscaper ( weed-eater in hand ) a rock flew up and, BAM! My windshield was cracked! I quickly turned the car around, angry beyond words and fully ready to lambaste this man, as I rushed toward him, he removed his earphones and said, “Mr. Thomas, how did you recognize me after all of these years? I haven’t seen you since 4th grade!”

I was speechless!  My anger was instantly replaced with nostalgia! I simply, shook his hand and said, “ I saw you, and I just had to stop and say hello!!”

Being a teacher allows a person to live on, far after our bodies have been put to rest! 

Q. What would your past students say about you?

A. They actually wrote some really nice things to me recently in their affirmations, just letting me know how they appreciate the fact that I put humor into our daily lessons.

They also make mention that I make it clear, that I care !

Q.  What is your favorite thing about teaching 5th Grade

A. I like the curriculum and I like teaching grammar. The kids are just really light-hearted, kind-hearted, and funny.

Q. What is your favorite lesson to teach?

A. I am a Power Point King !  We do a lot of “Jeopardy Grammar.”  It truly gets the students engaged when given in a competitive, interactive experience.

 Q. What is your favorite thing about Telesis?

A.  I like the fact that you’re allowed to have creative license. What I really like about Dr. Breece is that she isn’t controlling. She allows you, as long as you’re performing, to have that autonomy. I compare Telesis to my first school, Emerson Elementary in Mesa, Az. ( 25 years ago ) Teachers were treated as professionals, they had autonomy to try new things, their individuality was appreciated. I feel those things are not only fostered here at Telesis, but they are appreciated as well. That is not the case in most schools today.