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– Teacher Shonell James speaks about her role in molding young minds
Veteran Teacher Shonell James says her greatest satisfaction comes from nurturing the leaders of tomorrow
She gets up five days a week, dresses in her work attire and heads out the door. What for? To mold the great minds of tomorrow. If it weren’t for her and millions like her, there would be no other profession, and this is what motivates Shonell James to keep going every day, as she has been doing for the last 26 years.
“My greatest satisfaction is when the children metamorphosed into colourful butterflies,” a process she is integrally involved in at the nursery level and watches with great satisfaction on the sidelines, as they succeed at the National Grade Six Assessment and the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC). “I am able to nurture our boys and girls, into becoming strong, confident leaders for tomorrow.”
Teacher Shonell presently acts as the Head Teacher of the Pine Street Nursery, one of Linden’s leading nursery schools and for her, it’s about going big or go home. She spends many after school hours ensuring that through team work, the children’s two years tenure is a fun-packed, action filled, knowledge-driven one. For her and her staff, graduates of the Pine Street Nursery, must be all-rounders and so, much emphasis is placed on extra-curricular activities. “Because of the importance of extra-curricular activities, I encourage my teachers to always go big, and all in. We create a balance between co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities. We maintain a consistent schedule for these activities with a positive attitude. We are totally involved and we also have our parents and community involved,” she related
Over the years, James has worked hard to create Pine Street Nursery into a community-based school, more so, a welcoming village for the entire Linden to raise the children through constructive, creative and cohesive activities. Some of the signature events that James have supervised over the years, include parents’ camps, bake and salt fish competitions, culture days, “How Well I Know My Child”, family fun days and many more. Pine Street Nursery is also well-known for its annual red-carpet dinner, which aims at teaching the children etiquette and mannerisms suitable for formal occasions.
Under her stewardship as acting Head Teacher, James said she is most proud of leading a team of teachers who gave shown great commitment and dedication, toward their job, both in and out of the classroom. When parents see teachers are exhibiting the highest level of commitment and dedication to their work, they are more than enthused to get involved and parental involvement she said, is one of the strongest pillars of Pine Street Nursery’s successes.
For this, she advises her fellow teachers to always give unselfishly. “If it means going home at 2 am in the morning carving out costumes for Costume Competition, to ensure your students are winners, then so be it. “Whatever you do, do it with a passion and always find new and innovative ways of doing things,” she said.
Looking back, James said she has no regrets working one day in her life because she totally enjoys being at the foundation level for future leaders who will one day transform our country into an education nation. “Teaching has changed my life because it has helped me to be a strong role model. It gives me the opportunity to cultivate positive attitudes and influence others….I have never regretted taking my mother’s advice to become a teacher. It will go beyond my years of service, teaching is my life,” she summed it all up.