Shearer teacher promotes self-sufficient students

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jennifer Turley knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children.

The Clark County native has been a teacher for 21 years, spending 20 of them in the Clark County Public Schools system.

“I worked 13 years at McClure, then one year at Calvary Christian, three years at Trapp and now I’m in my fourth year at Shearer,” Turley said.

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Turley teaches third-grade reading at Shearer. She said the most important part of teaching is being able to develop an interpersonal relationship with her students.

“You must know what’s going on with students in order to teach them,” she said.

In order to work with each student as much as possible, Turley said her teaching style is typically to break the class of 25 down into four smaller groups with rotating work assignments.

The students manage the work groups largely on their own, setting timers for themselves to let them know when it is time to move to the next section and working together to complete the necessary tasks.

“The more they can do on their own, the more I can teach and help them individually so they learn more,” Turley said. “There’s a lot of teamwork, and the group encourages sharing of ideas and having input.”

Turley also serves as the school’s technology coordinator, making her the school’s go-to person for handling minor technological problems and helping to incorporate technology into teaching.

“Last year we were able to get 30 Chromebooks,” she said. “This year I’m going to get Google certified so we can start using Google classroom. It’s a way to make school work more paperless, posting assignments online instead for students to do.”

Turley said she is always looking for ways to improve teaching for her students, especially those who don’t have much support from home.

“My heart is for those kids that people give up on,” she said. “The lowest of the low kids, that’s where I want to be, with the kids who don’t have anyone else in their corner.”

She said a large help for her at Shearer has been the team of teachers she works with because they do so much to help each other tackle problems.

When she isn’t teaching, grading or doing lesson plans, Turley said she enjoys listening to audiobooks, spending time camping with her family and two dogs and being an active member at Calvary Christian Church.