ABILENE, Texas -

This week’s Teacher Tribute honoree is Monica Diaz, a 7th grade math teacher at Mann Middle School.  

For the past nine years, Diaz has taught math to students of various skill levels at the middle school. She said bonding with her seventh graders is what she looks forward to every day.

“It's a great year, you know it's the year where kids start in athletics so they have to pass [math] to play and so that's a great advantage,” Diaz said. “Kids at this age--they need adults--they need positive role models.”

Diaz said she strives to be their role model and, it seems Jessica Roberts, who nominated Diaz for teacher tribute, is following in her footsteps.

“I love her, you know, she's a role model to her other classmates because she's a clear example of what a student should do,” Diaz said. “Come to school, you know, work hard, ask questions when you're not understanding, she's just a teacher's dream.”

Diaz said she was humbled by the Teacher Tribute recognition and she sees a little bit of herself in her students.

“I was a struggling student and I came here to help other kids like me who were sitting in the classroom, looking at the math problem and just, you know [thinking] ‘Oh my God, it's going in one ear and going out the other,’" Diaz said. “I tell my kids at the beginning of the year, I tell them math was my least favorite subject and so I'm here to just tell the kids, if I can do it you can do it.”