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W.O. Parmer names Jones teacher of the year

Shalena Jones loves her job, though she admits not many people are lining up to volunteer for it.

She was recently named as W.O. Parmer’s teacher of the year for 2010.

Jones, who teaches kindergarten, said not all teachers are willing to teach the younger age groups.

“Some people like the higher grades, and others don’t have a preference,” Jones said. “I like this age group because they keep me young.”

Jones, however, said she has always intended to teach this age group.

“I love the young children,” Jones said. “When I went to school to be a teacher, I went to teach kindergarten.”

Jones was in her classroom when she principal Catherine Sawicky first delivered the news.

“It’s a big nomination, first of all, and to win it is even bigger,” Jones said. “You don’t just show up in the classroom and win this award. You have to be motivated, and you have to love teaching.”

She got her start teaching a combined second and third grade class, which she stuck with for three years. With every new teaching job, Jones continued descending through the age groups. After teaching first grade for two years, she finally found herself in front of a kindergarten class. Jones has been with GMS for 4 years now.

Teaching kindergarten has its challenges, Jones said.

“With this age group, you have children that come in with different learning styles and abilities,” Jones said. “You also have some that went to preschool why some didn’t.”

Managing these differing backgrounds is a big part of her job.

Jones has a child of her own who will be heading into kindergarten next year. She plans on sticking with the kindergarten age group, although she knows she won’t be allowed to teach her own son.

“I love their curiosity,” Jones said. “They are a great group of children to work with.”