Skip to main content

Logo: Newport News Public Schools

Model Teachers: 5th Grade

Model TeacherModel TeacherName: Shannon Rawls
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Yates Elementary
Years Taught: 8

 

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I am passionate about supporting my fellow teachers.  Nothing can truly prepare you for the experiences that unfold as you begin your journey as a teacher.  Part of the beauty in teaching is that education is always changing.  The children are different, their needs are different, we learn and grow as educators, and curriculum changes.  Our world can be overwhelming at times.  I have seen amazing educators walk away from the profession because of the pressure and demands that can come with our job.  I want to inspire other teachers and help them to build their confidence.  When we are faced with a difficult concept to teach or a child who is difficult to reach, often times all we need is a sounding board and a colleague with whom we can collaborate.  It’s nice to get ideas from others and have someone to help us think of things from a different angle.  I believe that positivity and optimism are contagious.  I want to pass my passion and love for teaching on to my fellow educators so that they understand their worth and don’t give up during moments of self-doubt.

What do you most love about teaching?
I firmly believe that teaching is the most rewarding profession.  The thing that I love most about teaching is the children.  I thrive on helping the most challenging students and am passionate about making a difference in their lives each and every day.  Nothing compares to the feeling of building students’ self-esteem, helping them to believe in themselves, witnessing them becoming invested in their learning, and watching them as they grow and transform before your very eyes.  I love that I can give students hope for the future while creating critical thinkers, life-long learners, and active members of society!

Why do you love working in NNPS?
I absolutely love working in NNPS.  Our district offers a very diverse population of students and teachers.  It models the real world; after all, America is a melting pot.  Students and teachers alike are given opportunities to embrace diversity while learning to appreciate the differences in the world around them.  The district offers a plethora of professional learning opportunities to help us stay abreast of best practices and the ever-changing trends in education.  They also promote collaboration and provide a platform for teachers to share ideas.  The curriculum team values teacher input and is open-minded when considering new ideas.  They value educators and work hard to support us to ensure that we are all successful.  In NNPS it is evident every day that whether it is our superintendent, curriculum teams, administration, teachers, or support staff, the children come first.  At the end of the day, that’s what matters most!

 


Model TeacherModel TeacherName: LaToya Sawyers
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Jenkins Elementary
Years Taught:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Model TeacherName: Aaron Chrzaszcz
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Sanford Elementary
Years Taught: 3
 

What do you most love about teaching?
The most rewarding part of teaching is establishing relationships with the students to help make them feel confident in areas that are a challenge and comfortable in subject areas that are unknown. It is incredible to see students come together as one with a common goal in the classroom to improve themselves and the others around them through a strong community.

What makes NNPS a great school division?
There are always great opportunities to improve as a teacher in Newport News. There are many different support systems in place both at your individual school level and at the district level. So many people in this school division want teachers to succeed and will do almost anything to back them up in the classroom.  I have been able to see growth and change in so many ways through my years teaching. It’s important to work in a system where everyone believes in you and wants to see you achieve.

What is the best way to describe your classroom on a typical day?
I am an extremely consistent and transparent teacher, and I strongly believe in having an open relationship with the students where they can ask questions about what we are doing and why it is important. In a typical day we start with our morning meeting being led by a student.  Throughout the day, we actively learn in all of our content areas.  Also, I always read books aloud to my students that allow us to discuss a variety of topics.  At the end of the day, we take care of the classroom together.
 


Model TeacherName: Dillon Fail
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Dutrow Elementary
Years Taught: 3
 

What do you most love about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is the relationships formed with students and their families. I love witnessing a student gain confidence as the year progresses. Students deserve a teacher who believes every student can learn at the highest levels, and families deserve a teacher who will do whatever it takes to grow their child as a learner and human being. When those two pieces come together, there is a life-long bond that is irreplaceable.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
Teaching is a profession that requires an incredible amount expertise and familiarity across a wide range of skills. Teachers deserve to have a working environment where they feel supported and can ask questions. I would not be the teacher I am today if it were not for my colleagues in the early days of my career. Those colleagues made questions and reflection a welcome habit, and I hope to do the same for others around me!

Why do you love working in NNPS?
NNPS is my “home” division. I grew up in Newport News and never considered going to any other school division when I finished college. NNPS has core beliefs about education and students that mirror my personal beliefs. The idea that every student can succeed is the foundation for our curriculum.  In NNPS, we focus on each student as a learner who is growing smarter every day.


Model TeacherName: Catina Billups
Grade: 5th Grade
School: Carver Elementary
Years Taught: 23

 

What do you most love about teaching?
The thing I love the most about teaching is when I see my students enjoy learning and sharing it with someone else.

Why are you passionate about supporting fellow teachers?
I think educators should share knowledge with one another because knowledge and wisdom is not just for ourselves. We should share so that great things happening can spread out to as many students as possible.  Great teachers are great because they observe greatness, practice greatness, study greatness, and want to be part of greatness.  Great teachers continue to be great because they keep an open mind and a teachable spirit.

What two words best describe you as a teacher?
Two words to describe me would be compassionate collaborator. I chose these two words because I believe educators need to show compassion in order to encourage, inspire, and teach students to be successful.  I chose collaborator because we have to work as a unit and not as an individual to meet the diverse needs of each student.

Logo: NNPS Curriculum Department