Meet the Teachers: Highlighting Educators in the Community

Educators hold a special place in our hearts at Half Price Books. Earlier this year, we introduced you to a pair of teachers who are true HPB booklovers. Adriana and Jeffery Sifford visited every HPB in the Houston, TX area (there are nine for anyone who’s counting) in a single day and tweeted about their adventure along the way. In this Q&A, we get to know Adriana and Jeff, and discover more about their choice to pursue a career in education.

Why did you become an educator?
Adriana – When I was a reporter, I covered education and I loved going to teachers’ classrooms and watching them teach. Students were engaged, teachers were having fun. I watched how students were learning from the teachers, and I always wanted to be a part of that.
Jeffrey – This may sound so cliché, but to make a difference. I always enjoyed learning and that’s something I wanted to pass on.


What do teachers do when their kids are at lunch? Take selfies in the classroom! Looking good, Adriana.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Adriana – My favorite teacher was Ms. Martinez. She was my 9th grade English teacher. She was nice, patient and was there for us when we needed her. She was also my debate coach. She made learning fun!
Jeffrey – My favorite teacher was my 4th grade English teacher, Mrs. Zaskoda. She made reading come alive and I looked forward to going to her class every day.

How do you encourage your students to read inside and out of the classroom?
Adriana – I am constantly instilling in them the importance of reading and being a lifelong learner. I encourage them; challenge them to read something that’s not required in class. Always making sure to let them know they will read more in high school and when they get to college.
Jeffrey – My students are seniors; I encourage them to continue to make that personal connection when reading.  Especially since most of them are heading to college. Reading is a part of life.

What is the greatest success you’ve had in teaching?
Adriana – Watching my students get that sparkle in their eyes and having that sense of accomplishment when they get something. Kind of like that “a-ha” moment.
Jeffrey – Seeing the transformation from students as they learn and gain confidence to take on the world.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Adriana – I was once a newspaper editor for a small town newspaper. I did it all- report, write, take photos and even designed the layout. It was stressful, but fun.
Jeffrey – When I was in the Army, I was stationed in Germany. One year, I celebrated Thanksgiving in a castle. It was the best turkey leg I ever had.

AJ 3

“Hubby officially retired from and to celebrate he wanted to come to (Army gave me flowers too, just for being his wife.)”

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?
Adriana – The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Jeffrey – Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

What’s the most read book in your classroom?
Adriana – The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Jeffrey – This last school year, I saw a lot of my students reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

What is your favorite required reading?
Adriana – Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
Jeffrey – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What kind of books do you look for when adding to your classroom library?
Adriana – I want my students to be actively reading, I try to get any YA books I know they will enjoy like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. I also try to look for books that are in clearance. I try to fill my bookshelf so they can have an array of books.
Jeffrey – I add just about anything I can get my hands on!

If you’re a teacher or librarian, or lucky enough to know one in your community, please visit our website to learn more about how Half Price Books can offer support and help make this school year the best yet!

Sam is the Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator at HPB Corporate.

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