Education is not easy. Not for students, and not for teachers. But the effort to push through those challenges is worth it. That’s the message Brandywine School District special education teacher Jahsha Tabron delivered to her fellow teachers as she accepted her award as Delaware’s teacher of the year.
Tabron encouraged her fellow teachers to keep working together to push students to learn.
“I learned early on that your heart and your brain can never be too full. Love and learning have no limits,” Tabron said. “I’m thankful for wanting to always be a lifelong learner because it changes every minute. And if we don’t change with it, we’re left behind and we’re leaving other children behind as well.”
While Tabron works as a co-teacher for English students at Brandywine High School, her primary focus is helping ninth grade special education students transition to a high school setting.
“I thank my students, most of all, for trusting me and having the faith to step out and take learning risks. Despite the ever-present feelings of doubt, the ‘I can’ts’ and ‘this is too much’ or ‘this is not who I am,’” she said. “Teachers feel those doubts as well, but together we keep pushing ahead towards our purpose.”
In addition to teaching, Tabron also serves as a mentor to help new teachers get up to speed on special education compliance requirements needed to develop individual education programs.
One of those teachers she’s mentored is DaSheena Robinson. Robinson was one of the people to nominate Tabron for teacher of the year after working as a teacher’s assistant in her class.
“Through this experience I noted first-hand how society could discourage students due to socioeconomic status, race, or intellectual level, but it only took one person to truly believe and invest in order to counter the negativity,” Robinson said. “When students were tired and frustrated with life’s circumstances, Mrs. Tabron served as a voice of compassion and hope for a better tomorrow.”
Tabron urged administrators to make sure teachers are included in the conversation as decisions about students’ education are being made.
“We should be at every table where decisions about students and education are being made. Teaching and learning and leadership must be intertwined. To be effective, our voices must be interchangeable,” she said. “In order to grow together, the leader must become the learner, and sometimes, the student becomes the teacher. There is so much to learn in every role.”
As part of her award, Tabron will get a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of her students, and another $5,000 for her personally. She will also represent Delaware in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
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