Page 25 - William Woods University - Winter 2012-13

Winter 2012
By Jordan Reeder ʼ13 and Mary Ann Beahon
A Jefferson City, Mo., woman who struggled
to read as a youngster has earned two
education degrees from William Woods
University so she can help children do
better in school.
When kids are engaged and having fun
they don't even realize that they are learning.
That is one of the best parts of teaching,”
Shannon Barnard Smith
Smith, 26, earned her Bachelor of Science
degree in elementary education on the Fulton
campus in 2008 and recently completed her
Master of Education degree at the Jefferson
City site.
She worked in a preschool during and
after she completed her undergraduate degree.
She then taught in Eldon, Mo., and now
teaches at West Elementary in Jefferson City.
The WWU program was perfect for
me. When I was on campus it was small
and very inviting. The master’s program was
convenient, and the professors taught me so
much. I really enjoyed the cohort that I was
in, and learned a lot from other teachers who
were in the program.”
An alumna who believes in giving back
to her alma mater, Smith and her second-grade
students from Jefferson City West Elementary
School put on two presentations for the WWU
education students in the last year.
She and her students provided
demonstrations in literacy and mathematics.
Smith also demonstrated technology
integration in teaching, transitions,
cooperative teaching, and other teaching
strategies. WWU education majors also
completed teaching activities with the
I loved watching the college kids and
second-graders work together on the different
science projects,” Smith said. “It gave my
second-graders a chance to shine and show off
what they understood, and it gave the college
students a chance to watch and learn ways
to guide the students when they were having
trouble completing a task.”
When she was in first grade, Smith
struggled to read. A good attitude and
perseverance helped her overcome her
reading problems.
This made me want to teach first grade
so that students like me, at their age, can get
more help and guidance.”
She added, “Not every kid learns the same,
so I have to approach these situations as if I
am in their shoes.”
Smith has taught fifth, second, and first
grade. The last two years she was a looping
teacher and taught the same group of students
for their first- and second-grade years.
First grade is the most rewarding grade
to me that I have taught. I get to watch my
students learn how to read and I love seeing
them grow academically and socially at such
a young age.”
Her philosophy of teaching is simple.
I really believe in teaching students to
persevere. Perseverance isn't something that
comes easily to people. I want to teach my
students to set goals and chase after them. I
want them to not give up or let anything get
in the way of their dreams and goals in life. I
teach that in my classroom every day. I want
students to know how much I believe in them
every day.”
She added, “There's a quote I use with my
students, ʽWhy try to fit in when you were
born to stand out?’”
Dr. Roger Wen
associate professor of
education, knows Smith well and said, “I am
extremely proud of her achievement. She is
a person who always performs above and
beyond, and I think with her graduate degree
in hand, she will have an opportunity to make
more impact on fellow teachers, pre-student
teachers, and her students.”
Smith admires Wen, as well: “I want to be
like Dr. Wen. He cares about his students and
the subjects he teaches.”
Shannon Barnard Smith and her mentor,
Dr. Roger Wen.
Shannon Barnard Smith reads a children's book during a literacy demonstration for William Woods education students.