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Neal named Assistant of the Year

TUES. | 11-22-22 | FEATURES

     Some individuals just know exactly what to say to brighten someone’s day. The Rose faculty has identified Rose assistant teacher, Lashonda Neal, as that type of person. On Oct. 22, Neal won the Assistant Teacher of the Year award after being nominated by many of her co-workers. ​

     “Just being nominated was exciting,” Neal said.

     Neal is an assistant teacher to exceptional children (EC) teacher Paula Main. Although she has expressed her love for her job, she has not always wanted to be a teacher assistant. Neal originally wanted to

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Photo by Lorian McGillicuddy

become a social worker. In fact, she majored in sociology at Winston-Salem University.

     “I always [went] back and forth moving into the possibility of a teaching position,” Neal said.

     Her mother was her biggest inspiration and role model in her decision of becoming a teacher. 

She was an assistant teacher herself, so with that knowledge and experience, she guided her into a new position with all the love and support she needed.

     Some may think that since Neal has been so successful in her teaching, she must have taught high school students for a long time. Neal has been working for a total of 18 years, only four of them being in a high school. She had previously taught at Belville Elementary School, Wintergreen Elementary School, and Farmville Middle School until finally ending up at Rose for her first official high school position. She believes that working at Rose has not only changed her views on student life, but it opened her eyes to new possibilities.

     “It’s been a lot and I have been learning so much,” Neal said.

     When earning the title of Assistant Teacher of the year, she was not expecting any sort of reward or recognition for her career. When she found out that her fellow coworkers were nominating her, she began to use this new title to further strive and excel in her career.

     “I feel really humbled and it makes me want to work even harder,” Neal said.

With this title, she has noticed more recognition and excited welcoming faces throughout her day-to-day life. Now that she has been recognized by fellow teachers, she has begun to see students noticing her too. 

     “It's kind of like a recognition that a lot of people see you a little bit more than they used to just because of the title,” Neal said.

     When working with EC students, Neal has expressed that giving support is the biggest aspect in striving in her career. From the help of her coworkers, students and administrators, she plans and continues to use support and give support to others.

     “When they get frustrated, I try to be someone that they can talk to, just try to be that extra support that the teacher may not be able to do because they are extra busy,” Neal said.

Working with her students is not always as easy as it seems. Cooperating and interacting with EC students has its strengths and weaknesses just like any other classroom, but she has found that patience and virtue inside her classroom is the key to connecting with the student.   

     “It can be challenging because there are needs that we see that we have to address that we may not necessarily see in a regular education classroom,” Neal said.

     As she continues to work with her students, the main aspect of her job that she emphasizes is the joy she gets just being there for her students.

     “I love to meet new students and form bonds and build relationships with the students,” Neal said.

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