At Brevard Elementary School, second-grade teacher Citlalmina Gonzalez is teaching her class all about winter weather. They’re hoping for a bit of snow. She’s also being recognized for helping out one of her students as he was going through a tough season of his own.
While today’s lesson was all about ice and cold, a family says Citlalmina Gonzalez has one very warm heart.
Jason and Misty Gilliland surprise the teacher with flowers, a stuffed owl and lots of hugs. Jason and Misty Gilliland’s son Colton was in Ms. Gonzalez’s class last year.
The parents say it was a rough year on the little boy, diagnosed with ADHD and struggling with issues of a blended family.
Seeing Colton struggle in class both saddened and inspired his teacher.
"When people would be mean to him, it would just break my heart," Gonzalez recalls. "I would say ‘ok, how is he going to deal with this?' because, eventually, he’s moving on. I won’t be there. He would just be nice. He would turn the cheek and he would just be nice. And, I was like, ‘I want to be like him." says Gonzalez.
Misty began to get extra help from Colton’s teacher in ways she didn’t expect.
"We would get random messages, (from Ms. Gonzalez) seven, eight o clock at night, 'Colton had a rough day. How’s he doing?' 'Colton may be struggling with something. What can we as parent-teacher do to help him?” recalls Misty.
Even when the pandemic began, Misty says Mrs. G. stayed in constant contact, grew the bond with Colton, which ultimately lead to him regaining trust in other people
"It’s been absolutely wonderful," says Colton's dad Jason. "She is amazing, and we couldn’t have done it without her."
Citlalmina Gonzalez says she knew she wanted to be a teacher in college.
This is her second year of full-time teaching.
She plans to stay in the classroom and in touch with Colton and his family for many years.
"I told myself, I was like, “I’m not going to let children dig a hole in my heart and stay there. But, in education, it’s something that just happens. These kids, they dig a hole in there and they stay forever," says the teacher.