The Smyrna School District announced the Teachers of the Year at the May 14 School Board meeting at the Central Administration Building. Winning the honor for Sunnyside Elementary School was fourth grader teacher Jessica Marston.

Marston recently took a few minutes to talk about the award and why she likes working in the Smyrna School District.

Q Why did you get into education?

A I feel that becoming a teacher is a calling. Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where education was our first priority. Many of my family members, including my mom, uncle, and cousin, were all teachers and inspired me to follow in their footsteps. Seeing how they were able to make a change in young children was something that always stuck with me, and I too wanted to be able to help children.

Q What do you like about your job?

A There are so many different things that I love about my job! From working with kids all day, inspiring young minds, watching them succeed after weeks of practice, to spending 180 days with the greatest group of fourth grade teachers. But the best part of my job is when a students learning light goes on! For example, in fourth grade, fractions are an important math concept and lay the foundation for more intensive math skills. Many students struggle with it in the beginning then with more practice gets the hang of it. My favorite part is when every student in unison says, “Oh, I get it now!” or “Mrs. Marston this is fun!” It warms my heart every time.

In addition, it is always encouraging and uplifting by the little joys that go with working with young children. For instance, all the funny things they say, the silly things they do, the questions they ask, and the stories they tell you. Over the years I have kept a keepsake box where I have placed many of my past students’ birthday cards, drawings, notes, and cards. The hugs, smiles, and laughter always remind me why I became a teacher in the first place.

Q How do you feel about receiving the award?

A I am so blessed to have received Sunnyside Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year. Mrs. Castro offered me this opportunity five years ago and has inspired me to become the best educator I can be. Sunnyside is a wonderful place to work and is filled with amazing and inspiring teachers. Representing Sunnyside is an honor.

Q What do you like about working in the Smyrna School District?

A Over the last five years I have been blessed to be able to work in a wonderful school district. The Smyrna School District is a family and provides support to their employees, students, and surrounding community members. Their number one priority is their students, and as a teacher, that is my number one priority. The district is always looking for ways to make their students educational experience successful, from integrating new technology, providing students and teachers with up-to-date curriculum, encouraging new professional developments, and providing a supportive and safe environment for all.

Q What does it take to be a teacher?

A A teacher must have passion. Being passionate about the children, the love of learning, the subject matter they teach, and the art of teaching is what teaching is all about. When you pull all these things together, the classroom comes to life and makes the learning process meaningful. When the students enter the classroom each morning, they can instantly sense that the teacher is there for them, with a high energy enthusiasm that makes learning anything exciting.