Daniel Cox won secondary teacher of the year for the 2018-2019 school year. Cox was also beginning teacher of the year and and experienced teacher of the year for Plano West previously.
“It was a total surprise,” Cox said.“I found out after I ran a marathon that I was a finalist. I was mind blown from that.”
Cox teaches special education U.S. history, government and economics. He loves the subject that he teaches.
“Everyone sees things in different perspectives,” Cox said. “I could be teaching the same lesson three times and hear new questions, and see new interpretations. Seeing how the kids are reflecting how they see history and seeing them happy, I think I enjoy that the most.”
Cox has created a special bond with each and every student to make sure that he personalizes their learning to them.
“Every Monday I ask how everyone’s weekend was, that way I get more of a social aspect of them and understand what they like,” Cox said. “My lessons will reflect off of that. If a kid is interested in a topic, I let them teach and let them have a voice. I think it is fun to see kids learn from their peers and listen to them.”
Students have a special role in Cox’s classroom that they may not be able to experience somewhere else.
“I had a kid that went to Hawaii when we were learning about Pearl Harbor,” Cox said. “He showed us pictures of Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona landmark. It is fun when a kid feels joy and pride in what they are saying.”
Cox also coaches basketball and enjoys the outcome of it.
“Outside of the classroom I also coach special education basketball,” Cox said. “When you have someone who finally makes a basket after trying for so long, the celebration is the best part, I call it happy therapy.”
Cox is even known to students that are not his own.
“I have quotes on my door and sometimes I have kids that walk by and stop,” Cox said. And I go ‘which quote do you like,’ and just talk to them. Sometimes I do not get their name but any time I see them on campus I always say hi.”
He takes the time to get to know each and every student enrolled in his class.
“Before the first day, I memorize all of my students’ faces and names,” Cox said. “So that by the first day when they are coming in they know that I already know who they are.”
Cox truly loves what he does at Plano West.
“I end the day, happy, but exhausted, but happy,” Cox said. “I know that I had a fun time and I think that is the most important part of picking a job, picking something that you truly enjoy, and teaching is that for me.”