National Board Certified Teacher Jayne Sherman models learning every day for her first graders
Posted on 09/24/2019
Graphic showing a headshot of Occoquan Elementary teacher Jayne Sherman Jayne Sherman is starting her 20th year teaching first grade at Occoquan Elementary School. A first-generation college grad, she graduated from Syracuse University as part of the Urban Teacher Preparation Program and began teaching in Syracuse. A family move brought her to Virginia and Occoquan Elementary School, where she has been ever since.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Even as a child I would play school and teach my younger siblings,” she said.

Sherman teaches her highly energetic little “Shermanators,” as her students are known, to facilitate their own learning; encouragement and motivational tools help them develop the skills they need to achieve academic success.

“My students know we are a family and we take care of one another,” said Sherman. “I provide opportunities throughout the day for them to read, write, and engage in critical thinking and problem solving.”

She uses read aloud sessions to teach listening, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills, to promote retention by making connections, and to assess comprehension.

“My students love whenever I am reading chapter books, especially the Magic Tree House books," said Sherman. "They can’t wait for the next chapter! Read-alouds lead to such wonderful discussions. It’s so important to lead by example and model for your students. Just listening to my students’ comments and reflections is one way to know they are engaged and excited about reading.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Sherman graduated magna cum laude with a master’s in education with certification in grades pre-K-6. She is a National Board Certified teacher of literacy and is currently a Ph.D. candidate with a specialization in literacy and a second in teaching and teacher education. Sherman co-taught two literacy courses at George Mason University and regularly presents on literacy topics at education conferences throughout the country. She was recently selected to present at the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers Conference to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas, in November.

“Sometimes it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day for all we need to do,” she said, noting that making sure every student receives what they need is one of her biggest challenges.

An email from a mom who shared her now-grown son’s recollections of having been in Sherman’s class recently made her day.

“[She] told me her son was talking about me and how much he enjoyed having me as his first-grade teacher. His mom then went on to tell me in the email how her son remembered me carrying him across the asphalt many years ago when he got hurt at recess. Well…that was 16 years ago! Her son is now 22 years old and in the military. He is currently serving in Syria. He would like to come and visit me this June. That email reminded me that teachers do make a lasting impression and do make a difference in the lives of children.”