Becoming a ‘hero’ to a child important to teacher of the year
First there was Bryant’s friend, who operated an in-home daycare and was working on her Early Childhood Education degree.
“Some days I would drop in and do hands-on activities with the children or be a chaperone on field trips,” Bryant said. “I enjoyed the interaction with her students and found a new enthusiasm for helping children learn new ideas and concepts.”
Second, Bryant was helping her son when he was having difficulty with a particular subject in school. After doing some research, she realized she could help him improve in school, and as he improved, his self-confidence and motivation also improved.
After encouragement from her husband and much prayer, Bryant returned to school to earn her BA in elementary education. She never looked back.
Her peers at J.D. Lever Elementary School recognized Bryant’s dedication and named her their Teacher of the Year.
As she considered advancing in her teaching career, Bryant learned about Southern Wesleyan University through a network of teachers enrolled in the master of education program at the North Augusta Learning Center, located at 802 East Martintown Rd.
“They spoke very highly of their personal experience and encouraged me and another colleague to extend our knowledge and career to go through the elementary education master’s program. I am so thankful I chose the challenge,” Bryant said. She completed her master of education degree from Southern Wesleyan in 2009.
Bryant, who teaches third-grade, believes her success in the classroom comes as a result of building relationships with students regardless of their circumstances, which can range from an absent parent to abuse or homelessness. As a teacher, Bryant realizes she may be the only constant element in a student’s unstable world.
“I remind myself daily that this life is not about me, it is about serving others,” she said.
Bryant believes students learn best by doing, so lessons become student-driven and she is more of a facilitator.
“By promoting hands on and project based activities, my students demonstrate their natural talents. I provide real world situations so what I am asking students to learn is purposeful, meaningful, and connected to them,” Bryant said.
“I hope that in practicing encouragement and making student connections, I have established lifelong relationships with my students,” said Bryant, noting that she looks forward to getting emails from former students who have moved on to middle and high school – just to let her know how they are doing in school.
“SWU’s master’s program challenged me and gave me the experiences and the depth of knowledge I needed to perform as a dynamic educator in the classroom,” Bryant said. “I have been offered many opportunities in leadership and mentoring roles due to my professional performance and educational beliefs. I thank SWU in providing meaningful courses that helped me extend my educational career while in studying in a Christ-centered community.”
With regional education centers conveniently located across South Carolina, as well as fully online programs for select degrees, Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, visit swu.edu.