Why I Teach: Shonda Atkinson

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Gardners Elementary School’s Shonda Atkinson is featured in this week’s Why I Teach.

Current position

First-grade teacher at Gardners Elementary and the school’s teacher of the year

First teaching position

Teacher Assistant at Vick Elementary

Total number of years teaching

16 years

College attended

East Carolina University

Favorite quote

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” — Maya Angelou

Most memorable moment in your career

One day I was having a teachable moment explaining to some of my students why they were not able to attend Renaissance. I wanted to ensure they were able to learn a lesson from it. One of my students missed Renaissance because she had too many tardies. It was all I could do to keep from laughing when she raised her hand and said, “It’s all my mom’s fault because she goes to the gym every night and can’t get up in the morning to get me to school on time.” Kids will say anything! I just love it!

What is your super power?


Why do you teach?

I teach because if I make a difference in the life of one child, I have made an impact on the world. Teaching is my passion, and it’s definitely not just a job or a career. It’s something you are born to do and a gift that God places inside of special vessels. I teach because I have been gifted by God to do so!