Red Lick Independent School District – August 2022
Education is a second career for Shannan Whitt, who received a degree in sociology before becoming certified as a teacher. “I feel that my sociology background provided me with an understanding of human interaction and social behaviors, and I find myself accessing this information quite often as I assess students and their circumstances,” Shannan says. “Now, I am starting my 15th year in education. I currently teach first grade at Red Lick Elementary School, and I have been there for eight years. I previously taught at Liberty-Eylau ISD and Morriss Elementary.”
Shannan chose education as a way to positively impact the lives of many children, but she says that she’s the one who has been blessed by the opportunity to get to know so many amazing kids. “They have taught me so much about perspective and the world around me,” Shannan says. “I carry them in my heart, and they have forever changed my teaching methods and philosophy.”
The most rewarding part of the job for Shannan is the growth she sees throughout the school year, both educationally and socially. On the other hand, the challenge can be finding ways to reach certain learners. “All students should be met where they are. Students are created as individuals; therefore, they should be led to understanding in unique and novel ways while considering circumstances and environments,” Shannan says.
Though she believes Texarkana is blessed with an amazing selection of school districts, Shannan hopes to see more collaboration in the future to encourage, support, and motivate ALL students through shared opportunities and programs. “There is no doubt that the world around us is changing, and the students are dealing with new challenges or uncertainties, but as an educator, I hope to provide stability,” Shannan says. “As society shifts in expectations, I remain steadfast in my belief that a structured and safe classroom/home with high expectations should never be compromised. Love, compassion, and grace are represented in my classroom daily.”
When she is not teaching at school, Shannan also volunteers her time as a Sunday School teacher, and she enjoys giving to missions, serving on various committees, decorating for and planning community outreach events, and offering assistance, when needed, to her husband, Billy, with his ministry as Youth Director at Hardy Memorial United Methodist Church. “My husband and I also enjoy fishing, traveling, and just spending precious quality time with our children, Anna Blair (20) and Miller (13),” Shannan says. “Cooking and baking are two of my favorite things to do, and I aspire to show love through the offering of food and fellowship. When time allows, some of my hobbies include sewing, decorating, crafting, and reading.”
Shannan stays motivated in the classroom through her faith in God and desire to help others. As a Christian, Shannan feels led to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and this calling gives her direction and determination, even during challenging times. “I’m motivated by my students, and I’m also motivated by my amazing colleagues. The support, love, and exemplary examples provided by those around me keep me focused,” Shannan says. “Finally, my amazing family provides me with unconditional love and support, even when I second guess myself.”
One of the ways that Shannan seeks to build strong relationships with her parents and students is to keep an open line of communication between them. “I try to make positive contacts with parents as a way to highlight a student’s strengths early on and lay the foundation for future discussions or concerns. I also encourage parents to contact me with questions or concerns, and I greet each situation with honesty and compassion,” Shannan says. “Ultimately, I am blessed with the opportunity to show love through the ministry of education, and as I continue to navigate an ever-changing profession, I pray to never lose sight of the true purpose: loving kids.”