Shannon Salinas – Kindergarten
2012-2013 Teacher of the Year
Shannon Salinas, a kindergarten teacher at Peters, was named the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013 by her peers.
Salinas always wanted to be a teacher; her first students were just stuffed animals.
“I would set up my stuffed animals in rows and “teach” them. Initially I thought that it would be fun to work with kids, but now I work for the kids. I enjoy seeing the progress academically and behaviorally that my students make from the beginning of the year to the end,” Salinas said. “My little kiddos grow up in front of my eyes, and it is definitely fulfilling to see. I see myself, the students, and their parents as a team. It’s rewarding to observe the growth in the child and the appreciation parents show. They often attribute their child’s progress to my teaching ability, however, I remind them it was a team effort.”
Salinas believes that children learn best through a variety of avenues.
“I try to teach using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods so children from many different backgrounds, with many different strengths can learn. For example, in class we may sing songs, while viewing the content on the Smartboard, and doing different motions to reinforce our learning. It is also exciting to conduct experiments because children are naturally inquisitive and better remember the results. During class we often play games together to enhance math and reading concepts. The children have fun and don’t realize I’m secretly helping them learn.”
Making time to teach to each individual child’s needs is a very important issue that many teachers find difficult, Salinas said. “Due to large class sizes and diversity of knowledge some students that need increased attention may not receive it. Smaller class sizes and a kindergarten aide on a regular basis would allow each student to better reach their real potential.”
Salinas started teaching at Union during the 2007-2008 school year. “I wanted to teach at Union because I am a Union graduate. In fact, I attended Union from kindergarten through twelfth grade. It made sense to return to my home school because I wanted to touch the lives of students, just like so many teachers touched mine. My second grade teacher at Andersen Elementary, Mrs. Wilson, was my inspiration. In fact, she came to see me right before school started my first year! She even remembered my brother and where my mom had worked when I was in elementary school. That is amazing. She was a truly wonderful teacher.”
Salinas has high hopes for career in education.
“One goal is to eventually teach at the university level because I think universities could better prepare young teacher candidates. The small school I went to in Georgia did an excellent job preparing me for a teaching career. They teamed up with area schools to give their teacher candidates a thorough view of what teaching and the life of a teacher entailed. I was so prepared that I even had a fellow teacher ask me my first year, ‘Where did you teach before this’?”
Salinas graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbus State University in Georgia in December of 2006. “My husband was stationed at Fort Benning at that time. In the spring of 2007 I began my Master’s degree at Oral Roberts University. Because I was teaching full time and raising my little girl, I graduated three years later with a Magna Cum Laude honor. I am certified to teach in Georgia with Early Childhood Education and certified in Oklahoma with Early Childhood and Elementary Education.”