Being authentic, motivating, caring and honest are important qualities to have and they are what makes me passionate about what I do. My journey at CICS Loomis-Longwood started in 2000 when I was invited by a friend to be a substitute teacher. I returned to Longwood-Loomis in 2019 after working for ten years at a state university grant-funded program that offered non-traditional teachers the opportunity to become teachers for ten years. I accepted a position as a Middle School 8th Grade ELA Teaching Apprentice, and the 8th Grade Events Planner and Parent Liaison and Coordinator.
I am a jack-of-all-trades at Loomis-Longwood. I made decisions once I saw that the 8th grade events needed attention. From then on, I planned all of the graduation activities from student pictures and cap and gown fittings to finding a graduation speaker and planning their luncheon. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, most of these plans never happened. Right before students were remote learning, I was able to start the 8th grade Student Council; students were excited about being leaders with the council and to have a "voice". I also supported the new Art and ELA instructors in their classrooms with lessons and instruction. I started a 30-minute section titled, "Who am I?" in those classes. I asked students to complete small assignments that encouraged them to express who they were and what they thought of themselves. I plan to continue the “Who am I?” work this school year, depending upon how and when we return to school.
My Passion Guides Me Through the Day
My passion is helping students. I help them with their assignments, assist them when they attempt to accomplish difficult tasks and listen to them if they need advice. I think I am a human 'glue stick'; helping add the final touch, mend a gap or offer positive words to those in need. One rewarding aspect is to observe the 'light bulb experience' and to hear a scholar say, "Ms. Jones, thank you for helping me, I understand."
As an author and motivational speaker, I offer authenticity. I am very open and honest about where I am and who I am (imperfectly perfect). I believe this transparency gives students the opportunity to feel safe in the spaces that I create. Students are free to be who they are, discover more about themselves and start a journey of self-assessment and improvement. I affirm them, encourage them and remind them that we all make mistakes and the important part is how we recover from those mistakes.
Inspire and Love One Another - That’s Key
My passion is to #INSPIRE. I love to inspire and encourage others. I know what it feels like to need inspiration, to not feel loved or important. Therefore, I have made a commitment to myself to always try to be a beacon of light, to be honest and true.
My superpower is 'Love'. In these unforeseen times with life events such as tension, fear, confusion and uncertainty, I wholeheartedly believe that love is the ONLY thing that can combat hate (and negativity). I truly believe in what I do and give students the love and commitment they need. I believe in this quote, "Lead with Heart and You'll Always Find Your Path”.
We Meet the Challenges
A challenging part of being an educator is trying to ensure that we create a village for the child and that each part of the village supports the child. A teacher cannot do it alone and a parent cannot do it alone either. As teachers, we can and do make great strides with our scholars and build great relationships with our CICS students. The students are an inspiration to me, and I love knowing that I have helped make their day a little better. I may not help everyone in one day, but if I have made the difference in someone's life... then my duty was done for the day!
Shartia Jones was a middle school 8th grade teaching assistant, as well as an event coordinator and parent liaison. This year she will be the Freshman Seminar Coach and follow the progress of her 8th graders as they enter Longwood High School.