‘Tis the season to reflect on on the Slick Degrees Foundation’s very first act of philanthropy. This past September, Slick donated much-needed school supplies to Shannon Beaton’s fourth-grade class at Winthrop Elementary. We were overwhelmed with the heartfelt responses from the students and from Shannon, a first-year teacher. We recently reconnected with her and posed a few questions about her path to teaching and the impact of Slick’s donation of supplies.
Why did you decide to become a teacher? Ever since I was a little girl I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher. I was raised in a family that highly values education and shaping the young minds of our communities. Many members of my immediate and extended family are teachers and it is with great pride that I continue to learn from my family's passion and dedication. I graduated from Bates College in May of 2016. I had always promised myself that I wanted to give the corporate world a try first, with the idea that it would be easier to go from a corporate job to teaching rather than vise versa. After 6 months of working in Boston, I just knew that my passion was truly with teaching. I missed being around children and being in a school environment and most importantly, I missed being a mentor for children. I then applied to Graduate School and was accepted to Merrimack College’s Fellowship Program. I was accepted to be a Fellow at the Francis T. Bresnahan School in Newburyport, MA, where I worked in a First Grade classroom. I am now teaching Fourth Grade in Winthrop, MA!
Greatest successes and challenges thus far? I think as a first-year teacher, there is so much to be learned. I have learned that asking questions is vital. There are so many veteran teachers with amazing strategies and knowledge that I can benefit from. I have also learned to really keep an open mind. My heart breaks for children nowadays with all of the pressures and expectations that are placed on them. I really try my best to foster their love of learning and curiosity each day.
How did Slick's donations benefit your students? As a first-year teacher, there are so many expenses that we endure, that most are not even aware of. I was truly in shock when I walked into my classroom for the first time. There is an underlying expectation for what classrooms need to have today. Many of the pieces of furniture, academic and social/emotional resources, and educational tools in my classroom came from my own pocket. It was quite overwhelming at first to manage these costs. I was so honored that Slick Degrees chose to donate to my classroom. My students were so appreciative of the donation. It was so special to witness their gratitude and appreciation.
And how best can Slick and other companies partner with you in the future to help your students? I really think that the financial piece is a major benefit! When I have told my family and friends how much I have spent on my classroom, their jaws drop. Teachers take on a significant number of expenses, first year teacher or not. This is a conversation that many of my teacher friends and colleagues have frequently. We are constantly buying everyday essentials for our classrooms (pencils, white boards markers, erasers, etc), cleaning supplies (paper towels, tissues, wipes, etc), and most importantly curriculum material. I even had to buy bookshelves for my classroom for this year!! So that all being said, I really believe Slick and other companies partnering to make donations to teachers and their classrooms would be so incredibly appreciated.