“I will be teaching in my own classroom next school year!” exclaims Jennifer Primm. Primm, a paraprofessional at Arnold Mill Elementary School in Woodstock, is pursuing her Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) in elementary education at Reinhardt University.
“Reinhardt’s MAT program is a wonderful fit for my family for many reasons,” says Primm. “It is an accelerated program that allows students to complete their degree in one year. It is also online and asynchronous, so I can work on my classes after my young daughters have gone to bed. The professors have been supportive, encouraging, and accessible.” Primm says one of the most significant factors in completing the program is the agreement between Reinhardt and the Cherokee County School District that allows paraprofessionals to continue working throughout their student teaching. “Without this, I would not be able to pursue a graduate degree due to my family obligations.”
Primm has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in social work. “I had a fifteen year career in social work supporting vulnerable children and families in the communities where I lived.” After Primm’s daughters were born, Primm stayed home with them until they started school. “I reentered the workforce as a special education teacher paraprofessional at Arnold Mill Elementary School in Cherokee County after witnessing how wonderful the school district was to our community of children.”
During her first year as a paraprofessional, Primm decided she wanted to obtain certification to become a teacher. “My experience as a paraprofessional has shown me the rewards and challenges of teaching. I so enjoy helping students learn academically and socially. My entire career has involved empowering children and families, so a move to education was a natural progression.”
Primm is in her fourth year working as a paraprofessional at Arnold Mill Elementary School. She is a recipient of the Dr. Allene Magill Scholarship from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). “I was so excited and shocked to be selected for the scholarship. Dr. Magill began her career in education as a paraprofessional. Receiving this scholarship as I follow in her footsteps, moving from a paraprofessional to a certified educator, is an honor.”
Primm says she looks forward to teaching elementary students after completing the MAT and hopes to become an inclusion teacher at some point in her career. “I have a heart for students who need extra support, structure, routine, and differentiation to succeed. I love to cheer them on and celebrate each success, no matter how big or small it may be.”