Every day in both school lunch periods, Dr. T mingles with his students. He jokes. He laughs. He gives high fives. He makes himself completely available to the kids as they eat their salads, sandwiches, and fruit. And during recess after lunch, he’s outside under the bright sun with the Chinati mountains visible in the distance serving volleyballs across a tattered net or playing “Knockout” with a throng of young boys on the concrete basketball court.
“It’s my turn, my turn,” he shouts, and the children will respectfully throw him the ball even though they all know he’s cutting in line.
He explains, “That is the most important period of the day for me – the time I have with the kids. I have a lot of reports to finish. But I see to it that I have time with them, because when you open the communication the relationship with the kids will be better because they trust you.”
Dr. T shares stories about his childhood with his students, knowing that many of them can relate. He tells them that if he was able to succeed, they can, too, despite the hindrances they may face. He shows his students the diplomas and honors hung on his office wall. “I want them to see that this is a labor of love. A labor of life,” he says. “And I show my Joy Binder to them so they can see the good things that have happened to me. And I tell them. ‘This will happen to you, too.'”