Oxendine Elementary School teacher Shannon McNeill can be seen teaching third-graders how to read proficiently each year. McNeill told The Robesonian she enjoys watching her students mature and observing the impact her work as an educator has on their lives.

Oxendine Elementary School teacher Shannon McNeill can be seen teaching third-graders how to read proficiently each year. McNeill told The Robesonian she enjoys watching her students mature and observing the impact her work as an educator has on their lives.

LUMBERTON — A Maxton elementary school teacher says imparting the love of learning to students is the most important part of her profession.

Shannon McNeill teaches third grade at Oxendine Elementary School. She told The Robesonian that the desire for students to learn makes a difference.

“Developing in a student a love for learning is the most important part of teaching,” she said in a statement.

“I love when a child says I did not like reading or math before this year; however, I love reading or math because now I can understand. When I hear these words, my heart is full and my daily goal has been accomplished!” she said.

McNeill shared a story with The Robesonian about a student who was determined not to read.

“He had difficulty following classroom procedures and would never complete classroom assignments. However, he absolutely loved working with me in small groups learning how to read. At the beginning of the year, he did not know the sounds of many letters and could not read at a kindergarten level,” she said.

When the year concluded, he was reading at the level of a second-grader, McNeill said.

“He takes every opportunity he can to read to anyone who will listen. He told me recently that when he grows up he wants to be a teacher just like me! That is the joy of teaching,” she added.

But, there is more to effective teaching than imparting the love of learning.

McNeill also has learned empathy plays a role in her efforts to educate her pupils.

“Being aware and always understanding that outside circumstances exist beyond the classroom is the greatest lesson I have learned as an educator,” she said. “Empathizing with the emotional, physical, and social aspects students experience is crucial to educating a child to his/her fullest potential.”

She also shared a message for future educators.

“My message to future educators is that teaching is not only about the curriculum, but the relationship between a student and a teacher. The rewards will outweigh the challenges. Take one day at a time and grow from your mistakes. Each day is a blank page with a new chance for a new story to be written,” she said.

McNeill also mentioned qualities that educators need to be successful in the profession.

“Teaching is not for the faint of heart,” she said.

“An educator must possess resilience and determination to grow and persevere. Education is essential for our society to thrive. Without education, there is no future. Our children are our future, and we must make education a priority,” McNeill said.

When McNeill is not teaching, the Laurinburg resident can be found spending time with her family. She told The Robesonian she enjoys reading and shopping for the perfect book.

Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected]