LAURINBURG — When teachers are first starting out, they usually don’t have many people to share their nerves with. Such is notthe case with two new teachers for Scotland County.
Blake and Jessica Dickerson have been together for five years and have known each other since they were teenagers. In May they were married and now they’re both starting their first year teaching. Black will teach physical education at Scotland High, while Jessica will be at South Scotland Elementary teaching art.
Despite not being at the same school, or even the same grade levels, the two have leaned on each other to prepare for the upcoming year. From bouncing lesson plan ideas off each other to helping find drills, the two said they never imagined they would be starting their teaching journey together.
“It really shows things happen for a reason and you never know what to expect,” Jessica said.
The couple shared on Friday some of the reasons for getting into teaching — the top one is making a difference in children’s lives. Blake began coaching and then realized he wanted to do more; Jessica had wanted to do something bigger than working in retail, as she had been.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research and looking up fun projects that will motivate myself,” Jessica said, “(also) trying to find different things for my kids to do.”
The two are also looking forward to Monday when school starts. Blake is excited to make the life-long relationships with the kids while Jessica is looking forward to getting the kids believing in themselves and fueling that spark that gets them interested in art.
Veteran teacher and Beginning Teacher of the Year finalist Sarah Havener, who teaches seventh-grade ELA-Stem Academy at Carver Middle School, shared with them that teaching isn’t always easy and sometimes nerve-wracking.
“There were some difficult students, but I ended up with a lot of compliments from veteran teachers about how those kids changed,” said Havener, who is now in her second full year. “You usually aren’t able to see what you’re doing, but other people and your students do.”
When she transitioned from elementary school to middle school it was hard, but she wants to let everyone know that they’re able to do it.
“My first week I shook from being so nervous,” Havener said. “But my students never saw it and, at the end of that week, I knew I was going to love them.”
Advice that Havener gave to new teachers from her own experience is to “just breathe” and it’s important to get to know those around the school.
“Every day is a new day,” she explained. “Don’t bring the baggage from the day before … start fresh. Also, you can rely on veteran teachers to help you and learn — as well as getting to know the support staff, you never know what kind of advice they can give you.”
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]