White Pine Elementary Teacher of the Year, Sherida Palmer, goes above and beyond to help her students reach their potential
Sitting in her rocking chair in the classroom reading corner, Sherida Palmer, White Pine Elementary Teacher of the Year, strives to teach her students that they can become whoever and whatever they want to be.
“They can be as great as they want to be as long as they're willing to put forth that effort. It's all up to them who they become,” Palmer explains. “They have all the power in the world to be that. So I tell them that all the time: ‘You guys are so amazing. You can do whatever you want.’”
Every day, the class gathers in the reading corner and talks about the different traits of an outstanding second grader. They focus on words such as creative, brave, loved, worthy, and many more. Palmer defines each word and the class discusses what that word means to them and how they can recognize those qualities in themselves. This is just one way Palmer helps her students realize their potential.
Palmer appreciates that all of her students are unique and have individual needs, making them special. Because of this, her teaching style is all about adapting to the individual students in her class. She strives to adjust her lessons and class activities based on her students’ interests and skill levels as often as needed so her students can succeed. “Everyone learns differently. I learn differently than you learn,” Palmer explained. “So I need to find what is going to help them learn whatever it is that they're needing to be taught. If one way isn't getting in, and they're not fully understanding that, then I have to change.”
Palmer loves to incorporate two of her passions, singing, and reading, into her teaching. She uses singing during transitions to help students move to the next activity. She also uses songs to help students remember the things they are learning. She describes the reading corner as the most important part of her classroom. When students finish their work early, Palmer encourages them to grab a good book, find a comfy chair, and settle in to read a little.
Outside of her classroom, Palmer continues to look for ways to be involved and help students at White Pine Elementary. Palmer works in the learning lab before and after school, working with second graders according to their individual learning needs. She also supports the school by chairing the TAG (Teacher Assistance and Guidance) committee. According to Principal Shellie Healy, this requires extra time in corresponding with teachers, scheduling meetings, and creating notes to be used as a follow-up to help meet student needs. In addition, Palmer frequently volunteers and participates in staff meetings, assemblies, and other school activities.
Healy appreciates Palmer's hard work and dedication to her students and teaching. “Sherida is an excellent teacher. She strives to target individual learning in a creative way,” Healy observed. “She never hesitates to help out where needed. Sherida exemplifies the best of White Pine.”