Top Teachers: Emily Mason

Emily Mason felt a simple calling to life as a teacher.

“I wanted to make a difference in a child’s life,” she said.

As a third-grade teacher at Baker Elementary School in Varina for the past four years, she’s been able to do just that.

Mason focuses on messages of positive reinforcement for her students and rewards achievement by taking students to dinner or for ice cream after school. She holds afterschool tutoring groups and makes frequent use of her Promethean interactive board during class lessons.

In one nomination, the mother of one of Mason’s former students described her daughter as a shy student who normally wouldn’t have gotten involved in many activities. But with Mason’s encouragement, the girl signed up for a school dance performance.

“At first, [the student] was nervous, but as she practiced each week, she got better, she made more friends, and her confidence grew,” the mother wrote. “She started to try more things that used to intimidate her, such as reading much more complicated chapter books. Her confidence in [her] least-liked subjects, such as math grew. [The student] would walk around before a test saying, “ I am going to kick math’s butt”!

The girl continues to demonstrate the confidence Mason instilled in her, the woman wrote, and she even ran for office in the school’s SCA election.

“She did not win, but she felt like a winner,” the woman wrote.

Mason, whose father and grandmother both were teachers, said she feels at home with third-graders.

“I really love teaching this age,” she said. “They are still very eager to learn. They have a little more independence, and they are very creative. They’ve pretty much mastered the art of reading, but there are still light bulbs that come on every day.”

With the Promethean board, Mason has seen a difference in the way her students prepare and in their excitement levels during class.

“They’re just so eager,” she said. “They come to the carpet, where we normally sit, and it’s not a struggle. They’re just ready to learn, very excited about interacting with it. Every day we have a new activity up there, and they just can’t wait to see what we’re going to do.”
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On the Air Radio Players will present “You Heard It Here First” June 13-14 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Rd. This old-time radio show features live music and sound effects. The performance will once again feature the winners from the seventh annual radio scriptwriting competition. Admission is free and open to the public; no reservations required. For details, call 501-5138 or visit http://www.otarp.com. Full text

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