You know that kind of person? The kind that lights up a room? The kind of person whose energy is contagious and everyday creativity is straight up inspiring? That’s Shannon Webb. She’s giving on all ends - both at work, as a junior high teacher and at home, as a mom who periodically needs to navigate the world of homeschooling. The Shannon Webbs of this world have our mad respect.
TELL TALE SIGN OF AN AWESOME TEACHER
When they crimp every strand of their hair for 80's day at school.
It was the extended Christmas Break shutdown. As a junior high teacher, Shannon had already been teaching her own students online for a few weeks. Come early January, she would also need to homeschool her own six year-old daughter. Given the balls she was juggling, it would have been understandable if Shannon had decided to simply bunker down and do the bare minimum when it came to her daughter’s homeschooling. But that’s not Shannon. She always thinks of the little things, the things that make life just a bit more awesome. So during her week of homeschooling, Shannon made an inventory of the different local playgrounds near her house to motivate her daughter to get outside and stay active. She then gave each playground a zone number, just like her daughter’s school does for designated play areas at recess. And then she made something akin to the “Wheel of Fortune” but instead of Pat Sajak and Vanna White, you had a dynamic mother-daugher duo spinning the wheel each day to see which playground, or ‘zone,’ they would visit for recess. It worked like a charm.
TEACHING RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Shannon is a teacher for a reason. Students need love and kindness and she knows that by giving these things to them she is making the world a better place. The teacher that inspired her to start teaching? Her mom. Shannon’s mom had the special ability of bringing joy and energy to her classroom and was everyone’s favourite teacher as a result. After all, if you can make learning fun, you’ve pretty much unwrapped the golden ticket. Shannon shares her mom’s passion for teaching. ️”I love bringing joy to students’ lives and teaching them something they think they will never use - like basic French! Knowing that they will use it - even if only once in their lives - and be thankful for it, is so motivating for me.”
THE BEST AND THE WORST
Even for the best teachers, teaching during a pandemic is hard. Some days it’s really hard. Given the nature of what she teaches, Shannon is now constantly moving from classroom to classroom, instead of having students come to her. Losing her homebase and having a quiet place to decompress when she needs it is tough. Especially during this pandemic when she could use it more than ever. But teaching during COVID hasn’t been all storm clouds: “In challenging times, people connect so deeply! The best part of all this, is how close all of us teachers and students have become.”
"The best part of all this, is how close all of us teachers and students have become.”
Is she exhausted? Yup. Busy? You bet. But all of this has also made her thankful. (We told you she was awesome.) “I’ve really learned how to be flexible during this pandemic and to cede control.” She’s so thankful for her husband and that he has some flexibility when it comes to working from home. This means they've been able to tag-team things like cooking, cleaning and homeschooling.
As Shannon continues to forge ahead as a teacher and mom during this pandemic, she also continues to dream and create. An example of this can be seen in the leadership class she teaches. She is empowering students with really important skills like communication, creativity, vulnerability and emotional intelligence that will help set them up for life. Her leadership students have developed and led cool initiatives ranging from bird watching projects to creating awareness about people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton. Seeing her students succeed in these areas fills her heart with joy and rejuvenates her. When a teacher finds the success of her students rejuvenating, you know she has a true teacher’s heart.
Shannon, you are doing it. You are doing what we all need to be doing during this time. Your determination and creativity are a light. Thank you for showing us how we can all work together to make this world a better place. Thank you for teaching with your whole heart.