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Meet Ms. Shanieka, the Georgia Pre-K assistant teacher at Tutor Time in Smyrna, GA! She has been at this location since 2015 and is currently working to complete her master’s degree in social work. Read our Q&A to learn more about Ms. Shanieka!
Can you tell us some more about your background?
I started out back home in Jamaica as an English language/English literature teacher at the high school level. I also have had child care experience with my family members owning daycares back home in Jamaica. I’d always be there volunteering, just to interact with children. At my church I was the youth leader at one point. I chose this as my field of concentration because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people.
Why did you transition from teaching high schoolers to teaching little ones?
After my relocation to the U.S., I decided to not get my license in secondary education. I wanted to do early education because teaching the older kids, I realized there were some things that were missing. So I decide to go into early childhood to give me the opportunity to see things that students acquire at that early age. I wanted to figure out what it is that needs to be worked on as they develop so that when they get to high school, they won’t have those social challenges that we’re having.
How is this career path rewarding for you?
Because you see where they are at the start of the year and they aren’t quite ready for kindergarten, but as you do the activities, 60, 90 days into the school year, you realize that initially, some of the kids weren’t recognizing the letters in their names, but now they’re spelling their names! It’s quite rewarding to see that. It’s not the big things, it’s the little things. That’s what is most rewarding to me – getting the opportunity to work with them, getting them to where they need to be so that they function effectively as they move onto the next stage.
How do you maintain strong communication between yourself and your students’ parents?
Throughout the day, if parents need to come in and speak to us, we make ourselves available. As we go throughout the day, we’re taking pictures, were sending notes on the brightwheel mobile app. They’re in tune to what’s going on.
What has been your favorite accomplishment since you’ve been at Tutor Time?
There are so many! I think the most rewarding one is being able to communicate with everyone effectively on this team. Just being a part of everything from helping out in the office and the classroom.
Does your school have any fun holiday events during this time of the year?
We had our Fall Festival a couple weeks ago and Thanksgiving luncheon last week. I’m all about this Thanksgiving! I take it as an opportunity to see how the parents react with their kids. It’s a big ol’ parent involvement activity that’s going to be good for the teachers and students, along with the parents.
In your opinion, what’s your Tutor Time school’s best quality?
What I do like about this daycare is that it doesn’t matter if you’re in pre-k or the infant room, every teacher in this daycare knows every child by name. I like the environment we foster. We are pretty awesome! I think we’re the best daycare around.