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Teacher of the Week: Reba Warren Jenkins from Belvoir Elementary School in Pitt County

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 7:07 AM EST
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PITT COUNTY, NC (WITN) - WITN’s Teacher of the Week for February 3 is Reba Warren Jenkins from Belvoir Elementary School.

Jenkins is now in her third year of teaching in the county she calls home.

She is a kindergarten dual language teacher and is the only one of her kind in Pitt County. Jenkins teaches her students lessons in English, while her co-teacher does the same in Spanish. The goal is for students to be able to read, write and speak both English and Spanish by the time they leave fifth grade.

Jenkins says her philosophy when it comes to teaching is to support the leaders of tomorrow. She says, “Students must be given the opportunity to problem-solve in order to lead in the workforce, college or local community. This is why I stress the importance of student leadership in my classroom.”

Jenkins promotes student leadership by encouraging curiosity and decision-making in her classroom. For example, during guided reading assignments, students are allowed to pick their center and work from anywhere in the room. Students are also introduced to different community members with various backgrounds in her classroom in an effort to teach them acceptance and compassion.

Jenkins says, “I am passionate about not just teaching my students content, but I am passionate about supporting my students as they grow into leaders and understand that learning happens all around us.

When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and family, running with her dogs, boxing and exercising.

The person who nominated Mrs. Jenkins wrote, “I would like to nominate Reba Warren Jenkins for the WITN’s Teacher of the Week.

She is the kindergarten dual language teacher at Belvoir Elementary School in Pitt County. By being a dual language teacher, she has not just one kindergarten class, but two, giving her around 40-48 students each year. Her students learn all content with her one day in English and then learn the next day with her co-teacher in Spanish. The students rotate like this back and forth throughout their elementary school career with the goal for them to be able to read, write and speak in both languages by the time they leave in 5th grade.

Every school year, I see her work around the clock to ensure her students’ needs are met, but this year even more so. Due to the pandemic, she is not just a dual language teacher, but she is a virtual and face to face dual language teacher. She not only prepares her lessons for her kindergarten students who are with her in person for instruction, but she is also creating online lessons and zooming with virtual only students each day. She goes the extra mile, making sure all of her students feel loved regardless if they are a virtual or a face to face learner. She drove to each virtual student’s home to drop off Christmas stockings just to make sure they have some holiday cheer outside of a computer screen.

Her dedication is unwavering. Due to having to be a virtual and a face to face teacher, she consistently wakes up at 4am each morning, working before school and often even after school and on weekends. She is constantly applying for grants and looking for ways to find the resources to give her students an engaging education. Likewise, she is always reaching out to community leaders, inviting them to take part in her zoom lessons to give students the opportunity to see their learning in action in real life. She has had class zooms with police officers, farmers, and is currently in pursuit to zoom with another teacher from Japan to give students an authentic example of what Christmas around the world looks like. Teaching for her is creating meaningful experiences that expands their learning outside of the four walls of the classroom.

All teachers deserve credit this year and every year. Mrs. Jenkins has shown great resilience taking on the two jobs of a virtual and a face to face teacher. Virtual learning is challenging enough, but to teach 5-year-old’s virtually while they also learn two languages is so demanding for the teachers and the students. However, she and her students have taken this year in stride and they all continue to go above and beyond. She and her kindergarten students amaze me!”

Congratulations Mrs. Jenkins!

Every week during the school year WITN will recognize a Teacher of the Week on WITN News at Sunrise. The winner receives a plaque and $100 gift card for school supplies.

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