Golden Apple: Teresa Shrum Keeps Her Class Energized

Reported by: Joe Legge
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Updated: 8/13/2012 4:55 pm

You might say Teresa Shrum "coaches" her students to achieve beyond their expectations.

Shrum started teaching three years ago, with a level of energy only matched by her 2nd grade class.  "I feel like I would have a hard time sitting in my seat all day long, not having any energy. I want to be full of life and I want school to be full of life for them."

Shrum always wanted to be a teacher, so she could help others.  But it took her a while to reach her goal.  "In 1993, I was working as a secretary, and I decided now or never, and I went back to school and I worked two jobs."

Her perseverance serves as a inspiration to her class, one she uses to push her students to overcome their fears.  "Can we do it?" she asks.  "Yes we can," they respond.  "Oh, 1st grade can do better than that," she says. "YES WE CAN," they yell back.

Swiss Memorial Elementary Principal Kasey Woodlee says "everyday, she teaches that way. And in the mornings I do walkthroughs and in the afternoons I'll be sitting here doing some work, and I can hear her teaching from my office."

Shrum keeps dictionaries on the wall for students to find answers on their own, and stocks her book shelves with stories above her classes grade level.  "If they're reading on a 3rd grade level, I'm going to go get the 4th grade stuff. I'm going to challenge them."

She also challenges them to reach out into the community and help others, organizing things like a canned food drive.  Shrum says if she ever lost her passion for teaching, she'd have to quit.  Woodlee says "she is definitely the spark plug. She keeps everybody going."

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