Editor’s note: Today marks the sixth installment in a series of profiles on the 2009 teachers of the year, by school. We will end with a profile on the systemwide teacher of the year.
Name: Shannon Roberson
School: Richmond Hill Elementary SchoolSubject taught: 3rd Grade
I am originally from Augusta, Georgia but now I reside in Pooler with my husband, Todd and 2 year old son, Palmer. My family was full of educators and from an early age, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. I am also married to an educator. Todd teaches Physical Education at Hardeeville Elementary and has also been recognized as his school’s Teacher of the Year for the 2009-2010 school year.
I attended Georgia Southern University and earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in 1999. I then began teaching 3rd grade at Windsor Forest Elementary School in Savannah. During my 7 years at WFES, I obtained my Master’s of Education Degree and my Reading Endorsement from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2005 and my Gifted Endorsement in 2002. I then transferred to Richmond Hill Elementary School in 2006 and also began my Education Specialist Degree at Georgia Southern University. In 2008, I graduated from GSU with my EdS Degree in the Teaching and Learning Program with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction.
What made you choose to get into teaching?
Teaching is single handedly the most difficult and challenging task I’ve ever attempted. It wasn’t easy when I started and I can honestly say that even with all of my experience and my passion for teaching, it still doesn’t come easy. I am constantly trying new ideas, going back to school, and researching best practices to improve my skills as an effective teacher. I feel that my philosophy of teaching has developed through the challenges I face with my students. The types of children that need the most support are the ones that are often overlooked. Those students are my focus each year. I strive day in and day out to make school an enjoyable and positive experience for my students as it was for me. While learning was easy and pleasurable to me, it isn’t for every child. Too many children come to me in 3rd grade and have never had a positive experience with school but by the end of the year, they are enjoying the learning process and becoming more confident in their abilities and responsible for their learning. I only hope that as they get older, they remember me as being an influential person in their life that developed their positive attitude towards school as my own grandfather did for me!
How do you like teaching in Bryan County Schools?
National standards and the No Child Left Behind Act establish the foundation for the curriculum while the Georgia Performance Standards set the focus at the state level. The Bryan County School System is a large county that always strives for academic excellence and in doing so proclaims exceptional student scores on state tests as compared to other systems throughout the state. Fortunately, Bryan County School System is able to provide the materials, teachers, and training for all educators to meet the needs of all of their students. Classroom teachers are given an extensive range of support from other specialty area staff members to accommodate for the wide range of abilities in each classroom. It is certainly beneficial to me and the students to have numerous support systems available to assist with instruction, modifications and interventions. This diverse grouping for all subjects and the assistance provided promotes high classroom expectations. This is the chief reason Bryan County outperforms most neighboring counties in Georgia and why I chose to work for Bryan County.
What makes the job worth it?
As an educator, I feel that the teacher in me is always apparent. Whether I am at school, home or out in the community, there is always a moment of being an educator that shines through in me. I often tutor students outside of school, attend student’s after school activities, and I’ve also participated in a summer program to enhance student’s understanding of our native animals and their habitats of Georgia. Through all of these endeavors I learn much more about myself and my students outside of school. It gives me the chance to see them in a social setting, one I often do not witness. To see a child’s face light up when you walk across that field as they are playing in that football game is one the most rewarding moments a teacher can have. To see them in another environment and how they react can teach you something about where they come from or how far they have been. It isn’t always easy setting aside that extra time, but in the long run, it surely benefits that child the most to see that their teacher cares about their interests as much as they do. Those moments when you aren’t even teaching them are truly priceless moments in their lives.
If you were asked to say a few words in response to winning this award, what would you say?
Growing up, I watched many family members work in the education field. I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher because I enjoyed working with children and helping them learn. My first year of education classes was enlightening as my own thoughts and views of education changed. I never knew that teaching encompassed all that it does. Not only do teachers teach their students, but they also perform many other duties beyond educating children. A teacher is an individual that performs these additional duties and responsibilities without hesitation. Teachers step past the walls of the classroom to educate all individuals.