Local elementary educator says hands-on learning activities are important

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LUMBERTON — A local elementary educator says sometimes learning gets messy and that’s okay.

Lumberton resident Jessica Cummings Smith teaches fourth grade science and social studies at Rex-Rennert Elementary School. She is currently in her fourth year of teaching at the school.

For the primary educator, learning is more than putting pen to paper.

She loves giving students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning activities where they can “explore” and “get dirty”.

“For me, that’s when most of the learning happens, when they’re really able to be kids, to ask questions and be fully engaged,” he said. she told The Robesonian.

Additionally, Cummings Smith said teaching students also involves nurturing them.

“The most important part of teaching for me is making sure my students feel welcomed, loved, safe and at home when they are with me. Everything else will fall into place when all of this is felt in a classroom,” she said.

“Teaching definitely taught me patience, things don’t always go to plan, but sometimes it ends up even better than you could have imagined,” Cumming Smith said.

Cummings Smith told The Robesonian that his favorite part of teaching is watching his students understand and articulate concepts.

“My favorite part of teaching would be seeing all the little lightbulbs go off in my students’ heads,” she said. “Those little moments when everything we’ve learned finally comes together.”

However, her plan wasn’t always to be a fourth grade teacher.

“I didn’t initially start going to school to get a degree in education, I started in environmental science, but I knew I wanted to at least do the outreach part. The more I I thought about it the more I realized I just wanted to work with kids, so as a science teacher it made sense, so I started working on my side entry requirements,” Cummings Smith said.

“I’m quite sure it’s still where I was supposed to be,” she said.

Yet, the educator has faced many challenges during her short career.

“To overcome outside challenges, I make sure to try and enjoy every minute I have with the students,” she said.

“In my short career, we’ve had two hurricanes and a pandemic that took away our time inside the classroom, so we need to take advantage of every opportunity we can while we’re here.” , added Cummings Smith.

Cummings Smith also shared some tips for future educators.

“I would like to say to future educators that even though teaching seems like a difficult profession to get into, the reward of watching your students grow and all those little accomplishments while they are with you is worth it,” he said. she declared.

When she’s not teaching fourth graders, she can be found teaching STEM in the 21st Century curriculum and spending time with her family.

She also shared with The Robesonian that she is preparing and expecting the arrival of her first baby in June.

Contact Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 at [email protected]

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