How long have you taught with Reach for Excellence? I have taught with Reach for Excellence for 13 years. It doesn’t seem like that long because really it is fun, moreover in the summer! Over the course of this time, I have had some of my BEST teaching experiences. Also, within these thirteen years, I have seen the program evolve. Every year it gets better and better.
What do you teach? I teach 8th grade Georgia Studies. I LOVE it! Teaching Georgia Studies to my favorite level of students, middle school, is so rewarding. It is during the summer and Saturday sessions I am given the opportunity to blossom as a teacher and then create awesome field trip experiences to bring the content to life. Oh yeah, I also teach Arts and Crafts for recreation. This summer’s virtual session was AWESOME!
Where did you go to school? I am a proud graduate of Auburn University-Montgomery, where I received my Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Education. I later pursued and received my Master’s and Education Specialist degrees from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. I am currently in pursuit of my doctorate. Pray for me!
How would you describe yourself in middle school? If I had to describe myself in middle school, I would say I was studious, but also on the chill side. I always completed my assignments, but I was cool with just enough people and the right ones who complimented my personality.
What was your favorite book, music, or movie when you were in middle school? My favorite music in middle school was Pop and Rhythm and Blues. Whitney Houston was and still is my favorite artist of all time.
Why did you choose to teach with Reach for Excellence? Honestly, I was looking for something to do in the summer. Another Reach for Excellence teacher, Mrs. Bradley, presented the opportunity to me, and I applied. After the first summer, I was hooked. I was, and I still think I get paid to do this. Also, the program allowed me to teach middle school students, which is my favorite group to teach.
Tells us about your teaching philosophy… My teaching philosophy has evolved over the years. I have two philosophies that I live by. The first is, teach like your child is in the classroom. If you always do this, I believe the teaching and learning experience will be amazing. For the last few years, I have rested on, “Teachers make too big of an impact to be mediocre.” Every time I read this quote on my wall, it drives my passion to be better than the previous day. I am thankful I have been blessed to teach with a lot of the teachers who believe in these two philosophies.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching Middle School? My favorite aspect of teaching middle school is having the opportunity to mold their minds at this stage and the genuine energy the kids give off. It is during these middle school years; the kids are trying to discover who they are. Often times its funny how they are 13 at 9:00 am and then 31 around 2:45 pm. Nevertheless, with all of the changes middle schoolers go through, I still love teaching them during this unpredictable stage.
What is your favorite Reach for Excellence memory? I don’t have just one favorite memory, but I have a lot of memories that will create gut-busting laughs. For example, when Steve, Felicia, and I took the kids to Amicalola Falls BEFORE we had GPS. We were relying on printed directions and Steve as the lead. Unbeknownst to us, Steve took the “scenic route” on our return. Felicia and my eyes were hanging out the socket. The gas light was on, the batteries on the phones were low, and Joan, another Reach teacher, was just riding along without a care in the world. What Felicia and I realized is, don’t go anywhere unless you have a full tank of gas and don’t let Steve lead. Oh yeah, and there was that time I backed the bus into a pole my first year driving. No worries, no one was hurt, and there was limited damage to the bus. LOL!
What’s your claim to fame? I don’t know if I really have a claim to fame, but I did receive the teacher certificate that read: this certificate is awarded to Sheronda “Who will get these parents up here by any means necessary” Hardy. I think anyone I have ever taught with me knows that I take educating children very seriously, and it is a collective effort that includes parents.