JHS teacher ready to share new classroom with students

Published 3:40 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

Jemison High School math teacher Sabrina Hayes reviews her textbook guide in her classroom during a teacher workday Friday.

Jemison High School math teacher Sabrina Hayes reviews her textbook guide in her classroom during a teacher workday Friday.

With her bulletin boards decorated and new textbooks resting on new desks, Jemison High School eighth grade math teacher Sabrina Hayes is ready for students to arrive Monday for the first day of school.

Hayes is one of several JHS teachers who have relocated to classrooms in the former Jemison Middle School building that underwent extensive renovations this summer to be functional once again.

As she embarks on her sixth year of teaching at her alma mater, Hayes said she is excited about starting the 2013–2014 school year in a fresh environment.

“I spent the week before teachers came back moving everything from my old classroom to my new classroom,” Hayes said. “It was basically like starting from scratch. I feel like I’m a first-year teacher again.”

In the three weeks she spent preparing her new classroom when she wasn’t in meetings or professional development sessions, Hayes had storage shelves installed, made framed posters with inspirational quotes to hang on the wall, painted a wooden podium and bookshelves, organized new “Math Connects” textbooks and arranged student desks and her teacher’s desks and chair.

“I wanted to make it as nice as it could be,” Hayes said of her classroom.

She and Christy Mims, a half-day teacher and half-day assistant principal at JHS, also applied vinyl name decals to all of the teachers’ classroom doors in the renovated building to help students find their rooms more easily.

Hayes said JHS is expecting to have between 180–190 eighth graders this year, but the number could increase if more students enroll the first few days of school.

Even with enrollment already slightly higher—the school could net 100 more students compared to last year—Hayes said additional teaching units at JHS should help keep math class sizes in the mid–20s range.

In keeping with her new surroundings, Hayes said she is implementing a reward system for her students this year.

She got the reward system idea from one of her fellow teachers.

Students can earn as many as five points each day, one point per task completed (up to 25 points each week) if they accomplish five daily tasks: keeping the room clean, actively participating in class, obeying the dress code, being on time and having all materials for class.

Students can earn a bonus point each day if they have their homework completed.

They will receive 15 minutes of free time once they accumulate at least 20 points.

During their 15 minutes, Hayes said she plans for students to play a math game.

“If they get so many points per week, they get 15 minutes on Friday as a little reward—free time,” Hayes said. “I’m excited about it. It’s going to be new to me too (and) works to provide them an incentive to do the right thing.”