Sherrill enriches her students inside the classroom and out

Teacher feature
By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
-A +A
Sometimes it takes great teachers to inspire soon-to-be teachers. That was the case for Wendy Sherrill, a social studies teacher at Granite Oaks Middle School in Rocklin. “I had really influential teachers when I was in school,” she said. “The teachers that influenced me the most tended to be coaches, and I was an athlete.” For seven years, Sherrill has been at Granite Oaks, teaching seventh-graders social studies. But she has been teaching for 15 years total. Stuffed animals from her students line a table by her desk, a coach sits in the back of her classroom for silent reading time, and magnets from her students’ travels stick to the top of the teaching board. “You know you’re a good teacher when eighth-grade boys bring you a magnet,” Sherrill said with a laugh. For Sherrill, middle school is the age she said she enjoys teaching the most. But she admits it takes a special kind of teacher for the job. “Middle school teachers are nuts,” she said. “You have to really like this age. No day is ever the same.” Sherrill said her seventh-grade students are at a “goofy, fun age,” and less serious than high school students. “They still really want to learn,” she said. “They say funny things all the time.” In addition to teaching inside the classroom, Sherrill is also involved in the service-learning aspect of teaching. With Sherrill’s help, the school held a canned food drive asking for donations for the homeless. She is also a member of Granite Oak’s Sunshine Club that celebrates teacher success as well as helps teachers who may be experiencing problems, Granite Oaks Principal Jay Holmes said. She has also organized numerous charity events to help the disadvantaged within Placer County, Holmes said. “Wendy is a wonderful teacher, a team player and a role model for our students,” Holmes said. “Plain and simply, Wendy cares about kids.” Sherrill agrees that enjoying the age is a big part of being a successful teacher. “You really have to love kids,” she said. “And you have to remember that they are kids.” Another key aspect of her job is trying to be understanding — especially if a student has a tough home life or other issues outside of school. “I hope that I’m compassionate, and I hope that I bring my compassion in,” she said. “I try to be understanding with the kids.”