Teacher of the Week: Shalonda Carr

Teacher of the Week: Shalonda Carr

On Wednesdays, we'll spotlight a difference-making area educator. To nominate a teacher, tweet to education reporter @__LyndsayJones with the hashtag "#TeacherOfTheWeek."

This week, meet SHALONDA CARR, an ESL teacher at Urbana's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, who believes that learning new things herself is one of the most important things she can do for her students.

"If I'm not always trying to learn and grow, then my teaching gets stagnant, so I'm always learning," says The News-Gazette's first Teacher of the Week of 2018. Here's more on Carr, who in 2015-16 was a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

What makes me unique as an educator is ... "my ability to try to connect with people from the university. I'm open to other knowledgeable people working with the students."

What's unique about my school is ... "the diversity of languages. We've had French, Spanish, Mandarin, Pashtun, Arabic, Indonesian, Hebrew and Swahili spoken here," among others.

My education inspiration comes from ... "DePaul, (where) we were required to take a music class. One day, our professor was super mad we bombed a test. I mean, we all did. But he came back and apologized and said, 'I realize I was frustrated.' I'd never had a teacher apologize for doing wrong. I try to emulate that. You constantly have to evaluate yourself as a teacher."

My desk essentials are ... "pictures of my babies — two girls, ages 11 and 4. Notepads. I have a lot of notepads. Colorful pens in any color but red. Red is too aggressive."

If I had a bucket list, it might include ... "travel to places with great art. We are living our bucket list in a way, though, because my husband and I are going to Europe in two years to stay in the south of France."

The best thing about teaching is ... "when you're able to spark a love of something or find a student's a-ha moment."

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