Although LaToya has taught children from all backgrounds, from the affluent to the impoverished communities, she says, “Kids are kids no matter if they are rich or poor. I value all children no matter what background they come from. You have to wear many hats as a teacher: mom, nurse, teacher, and confidant. The bottom line is that I treat every student the way I would want my own child to be treated in the same or similar situation. I have lived by this rule of thumb since I began my teaching career in August of 2000.”
As strong as she is, LaToya has always leaned upon the Lord without hesitation. Her most cherished part of her job here at GAC is having the opportunity to pray before meetings and during class. As a public-school teacher, she still prayed, but she did so silently and privately. “I have never prayed out loud so much in my life! I could not do this in public school, and it is wonderful that I get to share my whole self with my students,” she said. She used to put her hands on her students’ shoulders, and she would pray for them silently in her head. Now she says she is “free to be me…and pray out loud every day.”
LaToya’s grit and determination are clear from the first moment you meet her. Her work ethic is strong, and she expects and trains her students to develop their habits in the same way. “My work ethic is everything to me. It is who I am. I am driven, and I won’t give up,” she said. Planning weeks and even months in advance, LaToya is always prepared. If a lesson that she planned doesn’t work, she scraps it and starts over. She says she is “truly obsessed” with finding a better way. “I never settle for good enough. I have to go above and beyond every single day. I never want to disappoint my students. I want to ensure they are prepared for high school and beyond,” she said.
No one will say that her classes are easy, but every Spartan will say that they learned a great deal from them. LaToya’s favorite Bible verse mirrors her life and her commitment perfectly: Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12