Jasmine Wilson, Lynette Wilson and Kim Smith — three teachers at Brogden Middle School — displayed surprise, shock, humility and gratitude after Wayne County Public Schools recognized them as top in their fields.
Jasmine Wilson, who teaches fifth-grade science, has been named the Beginning Teacher of the Year at BMS. A 21-year veteran in education, eighth-grade science teacher Lynette Wilson is the BMS Teacher of the Year, while Smith is the school’s Instructional Assistant of the Year.
“I know at the beginning, I did not want to be a teacher,” said Jasmine Wilson, an alumna of Southern Wayne. “Coming to the end of my third year, I love it a lot…love being around the kids [and] having a relationship with them is rewarding to me.
“It’s just crazy how they look up at you.”
The onset of COVID-19 shut down in-person instruction in mid-March. Gov. Roy Cooper eventually shuttered the state’s K-12 public schools for the remainder of the academic year.
Teachers throughout the county had to quickly adjust to remote learning and think outside of the box. WCPS stepped in and provided much-needed direction, and developed a “Park and Learn” initiative with United Way of Wayne County to help students identify local WiFi hotspots.
But the teachers undoubtedly missed the interaction with their students.
“We had done some online [work] in the classroom, but to go totally online, we had to work some things out,” said Lynette Wilson. “I’ve always said that when you’re teaching, you’re constantly learning. So, it was a big, big part of us learning new things when it came to teaching.”
Smith works with all four grades at BMS.
The coronavirus outbreak disrupted her daily routine.
“It was a challenge, of course,” she said. “With the students being in the classroom and most of our class studies being computer based, it was a challenge to try and find something that was going to keep them engaged because they weren’t being supervised by me [in person].
“They could log in, but it doesn’t mean they wanted to do the work. It was a challenge to try to find things that we wanted to be exciting to them, to keep them engaged and want to do things remotely.”
All three teachers are eager to see their students again.
However, the North Carolina Department of Instruction hasn’t developed guidelines for fall instruction. Some parents may continue to home school due to virus fears.
Lynette Wilson expects more virtual teaching.
“I just want them to have everything in place that we need to have in place to make sure that everybody is safe in order for us to come back to school,” she said.