By Zoe Daniel
While interviewing Mrs. Shaw, it became apparent through her exciting tone and lively facial expressions, that she is not only passionate about English but teaching as well. She recounted that fact that she has, “always taken an interest in English, and honestly, I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t. Since I was little I’ve always loved reading and writing, and I would always sit at my computer and create stories. I used to set up my dolls and pretend I was a teacher – it’s always been a part of my life!” That love for reading and writing remained constant, as Mrs. Shaw entered into her adult life. While she “didn’t enter into college with the plan of becoming a teacher, the decision felt right upon graduation. I originally wanted to focus more on journalism and writing, but the last class I took in college really shifted my viewpoint. I was so impressed by the professor and the research and work she was doing in the community, and it sparked something inside of me.”
Before Mrs. Shaw came to Byram, she taught for seven years in North Carolina; first teaching English, then at a community college, and then at a high school. She exclaimed that it was “an overall really amazing experience, but very different from teaching here.” She then ultimately decided to leave because, “there are a lot of problems with school districts in the South, and it can be very difficult to teach there.” The unique position of Byram Hills alleviates many of the issues that Mrs. Shaw faced in the south, whether it be a lack of resources or overcrowding of classrooms.
Since joining the Byram faculty four years ago, Mrs. Shaw has “loved so much about working here.” However, she has had the ability to teach at both the middle school and the high school. Speaking on the transition between schools, she said, “that so far the transition has been very smooth. I loved teaching at the middle school, and the energy was great, but I love that I now have the ability to have more mature conversations with my students. I love to discuss literature and poetry, and the ideas that the students bring into the classroom are so exciting!” She explained that “it is amazing to work with students who have so much passion and drive.” Students and teachers, alike, value the engagement and depth of the meaningful conversations that they are able to conduct throughout the classroom. Many students would agree that Mrs. Shaw has done as much for them, as they have done for her! Sabrina Mauro, a junior who takes both Creative Writing and English 11, explained that “Mrs. Shaw is one of the best teachers that I’ve ever had. She is so caring and tries her best to help us reach our full potential. I feel myself growing as a student through her help and guidance.” In addition to the student body, Mrs. Shaw has found a second home within the English department and larger Byram Hills community. She stated that “This community, and the teaching profession here, really values growing as an educator, and for me, I’m always curious to see how I can better myself and my work. I love that this district provides me with the opportunity to learn.”
Already a well-known and well-loved teacher here at the hills, we can’t wait to see what Mrs. Shaw has in store for her students for years to come!