Mrs. Shearer started her teaching career a bit later than most and is finishing up her 17th year here in Mason. Luckily for the district, MECC families and students she has no plans for retirement in the future! “Why would I?” she shared. “I love what I do!” Mrs. Shearer is a 1st grade self contained teacher, teaching all subjects. “I have only taught first grade,” she teased. “Because that’s where the magic happens!” In her spare time Mrs. Shearer enjoys all things food related. “If I ever have a third career, it will have something to do with food!” she said. She enjoys taking cooking classes with her adult sons, watching cooking shows, and trying new restaurants. She also enjoys traveling and visiting her son Alexander who lives in Seattle.
With a journalism background, this once stay-at-home mom began pondering a teaching career while raising her three sons; Ethan, Evan, and Alexander who are now all Mason graduates and successful engineers. After volunteering and subbing a few times in the boys’ kindergarten and preschool classrooms Mrs. Shearer made the decision at 37 years old that she wanted to pursue licensure to teach early childhood. So, back to Miami University she went! A bit concerned of how to afford going back to school, Mrs. Shearer randomly won a $5000 Raisin Bran instant win cereal box contest. “No joke!” she exclaimed. “It paid for my first semester at Miami!” That instant win along with money from a former Broadcaster’s Educational Foundation enabled Mrs. Shearer to complete the rest of her early childhood coursework needed for a degree. “So, it was meant to be!” she said. Mrs. Shearer jokingly added, “I still frequently thank Ethan for his picky eating habits and for insisting on eating Raisin Bran every morning as a child.”
Mrs. Shearer not only tries to instill a love of learning in her first grade students but also a love of school. She strives to create a strong classroom community where her students are often found working in teams rather than with a partner. She believes this enables students to learn more about all of their classmates, making it easier to work together with the diversity in their groups and to learn to communicate and problem solve with their peers.
Just starting kindergarten one, of Mrs. Shearer’s sons was diagnosed with autism and speech delays. Despite a high IQ and capacity to learn, he lacked motivation and interest. He learned in a way that once Mrs. Shearer became a teacher, she quickly determined was a common need for all of her students as well, despite any learning challenges. “My teaching style has always been strongly influenced by my own, and my children’s early school experiences,” she shared. She found that much like Ethan’s lessons, most 1st grade students respond best when they are relevant, real-life, active, dramatic and fun. This is why you may often find Mrs. Shearer dressed in a doctor’s uniform, astronaut space suit, or camping outfit. She feels this helps bring excitement and motivation to lessons. “I try not to teach any skill in isolation where students wouldn’t be unable to understand the “why” of what they were learning,” she said. There isn’t anything ￼ that Mrs. Shearer won’t do to make learning fun. “She helps students to do their best every single day!” exclaimed parent Pavan Kumar, who nominated Mrs. Shearer for Teacher of the Year.
Rachel Shearer is no stranger to Mason Schools Foundation. She is a huge supporter of our annual Reading Challenge and two-time grant recipient. For her first grant, a few years back, she and colleague Amy Zinnecker wrote a grant proposal for new STEM toys that are used daily in her classroom. Most recently, she was granted funding for Wordless Picture Books for all first grade teachers to use in their classrooms. “Using wordless picture books has allowed students of all abilities to talk about their ideas and predictions about the meaning that the author/illustrators are conveying,” Mrs. Shearer explained. “My students this year showed exponential growth in all of their language skills which I strongly correlate with the addition of wordless books in the classroom.”
One thing is certain, Rachel Shearer cares about each and every student who walks into her classroom and she goes ‘Above and Beyond’ to assure they have a positive and fun learning experience every day. For these reasons and many more she was unanimously chosen as Teacher of the Year at MECC.