Educating out of inspiration

Math teacher Shari Mayes is awarded Main’s Teacher of the Year

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Educating out of inspiration

Math teacher and Academic Decathlon Coach Shari Mayes holds up her award for Teacher of the Year.

Math teacher and Academic Decathlon Coach Shari Mayes holds up her award for Teacher of the Year.

Marissa Redding

Math teacher and Academic Decathlon Coach Shari Mayes holds up her award for Teacher of the Year.

Marissa Redding

Marissa Redding

Math teacher and Academic Decathlon Coach Shari Mayes holds up her award for Teacher of the Year.

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While talking to her friend, who is a school bus driver, math teacher and Academic Decathlon coach Shari Mayes realized she has an opportunity to join the education field.

At the beginning of her career, she was mentored by math teacher Karen Fieszel and went on to teach for 11 years before winning the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year award. Before becoming a teacher, she worked 28 years in the grocery business and had 140 hours of college credit but no way to show it, so she got out of the business to continue education to become a math teacher.

“[Fieszel] spent all but her first couple of years here and she is such a role model [to me],” Mayes said. “If [there are] circumstances or you don’t know how to handle [a situation], she always has a solution. I really appreciated being able to work with her [and] have her as a mentor.”

To create relationships with her students on the first day of class, Mayes focuses on her students names, rather than the curriculum.

“I think [it’s] important to be able to call your students by name,” Mayes said. “[An] open line of communication makes for better relationships and, hopefully, a better learning environment.”

Senior Jeromeiah Thomas had the opportunity to have her as his math teacher. Mayes can have her students open up and be inspired to help out by being versatile and understanding while strict to her students when needed.

“When I was first in her class, I was quiet,” Thomas said. “I don’t really talk a lot when it comes to showing people what to do, [but] her class became harder and people needed help. So, she was like, ‘Hey you know what you’re doing. Why don’t you [help the other students]?’ So, it gave me the inspiration to start a studying group.”

Senior Sonia Adhikari was coached by Mayes in AcDec. Whenever Adhikari was going through personal issues, Mayes was always there to help and provide advice.

“She was really creative in the way she was teaching to the students and it was really clear [that] she had a lot of patience,” Adhikari said.

Mayes incorporates life lessons into her classroom. By doing this, her students learn valuable lessons for their futures.

“I personally learned what you receive is what you’ve earned,” Thomas said. “Everything you work for, how hard you work and the effort you exert toward something is what your going to get back eventually over time or within the next day.”

Mayes did not expect to receive the Teacher of the Year award as she knows other staff members work hard every day.

“I feel very honored to represent the faculty,” Mayes said.  “There are so many good candidates [and I aim to] always do better [than I did before].”

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