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Shemwell: A teacher who knows her job is to teach

AMERICUS — Lauren Shemwell has been named Teacher of the Year at Sumter County Elementary School.
Shemwell’s earliest memories involved teaching her sister and stuffed animals.
“I barely knew how to read myself, but I would teach them the things that I had learned in school with the passion that my teachers used to teach me,” she said. “Some children pretend to be princesses or singers, a president or professional athlete, but all I ever wanted to be was an elementary school teacher.”
Shemwell’s desire to recognize each student for who they are and make them realize their individual potential makes teaching for her not just a job, but a passion.
“No two students are exactly the same, and it is our job as teachers to get to know the students we teach,” she said. “If we understand our students’ individual needs, we can provide them with a quality education tailored to meet those needs. I expect my students to succeed. That success may look different for every child.”
Her advice to other teachers?
“Remember the inquisitiveness and innocence you had as a child,” she said. “We must be humble and allow ourselves to learn from our students. We should be silly, be creative, be fearless and think outside the box.”