Teacher Spotlight: MCE’s Sherman and Rowe.

April 20, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: MCE’s Sherman and Rowe.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

CUSTER – Many educators work their entire lives without finding that special co-worker to share experiences with, but this cannot be further from the truth when it comes to Mason County Eastern teachers Eric Sherman and Carol Rowe. Although Sherman and Rowe have only been team teaching for a year, they feel like they’ve been doing it for years.

This is their first year of teaching together; they teach two third grade classes which consist of 16 or 17 students. Sherman has a homeroom of students in the morning for math, science, and social studies, while Rowe keeps her homeroom in the morning and teaches reading and English Language Arts (which includes writing and Logic of English, a grammar program.) After lunch, the students switch rooms, and each group is taught the subjects they didn’t receive in the morning.

Their schedules vary depending on the day because of their ‘specials,’ but each class receives the same number of instructional minutes a week for all core subjects.

With a combined 54 years of teaching experience, Sherman and Rowe both have a passion for education, but they backgrounds are very different.

Sherman, a Ludington High School graduate, attended college at West Shore and then transferred to Grand Valley State University for his teaching degree and then received his master’s in 2001 from Aquinas College.

“I have been in education working with students for 33 years,” Sherman said. “I subbed in area schools at all grade levels and coached middle school basketball at Ludington for a few years after college. I also held long-term substitute positions at Ludington Area Schools doing Title 1 reading and art, Mason County Central in elementary special education and second grade at Pentwater Public Schools.

“Originally, in high school I had thought about looking at the forestry/conservation/natural resources field, but there were so many budget cuts in the interior that the job outlook looked bleak.  I always liked kids and people. Education was my second choice, so I pursued elementary teaching with the idea that if I can’t make a child a better student, maybe a better person, too.”

Unlike Sherman, Rowe isn’t a native of Mason County and didn’t pursue education after graduating high school. 

“Teaching was a midlife career change for me,” Rowe said. “I graduated from Jasper High School in Jasper, Ind. then attended Indiana State University. After I graduated from Indiana State University in 1983, with a degree in packaging engineering, my husband and I moved to the Los Angeles area where I worked as an engineer, first with Revlon Cosmetics Corporation and later with AIL Aerospace Systems, which manufactured components for the B1-B Bomber and the Sandia Space Program.

“After taking a few years off to stay home with my children and volunteering in their classrooms, I realized that teaching and working with children was something I really wanted to do. I went back to college at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Cali., where I got my cross-cultural language and development credential and my master’s degree in education and curriculum development.”

Teaching for 33 years, Sherman began his time at MCE 22 years ago.

“I started at Mason County Eastern 22 years ago as a long-term and emergency sub in special education for two years and coached upper elementary boys’ basketball,” he said. “When an elementary teaching position opened, I moved to that. Being a small district, I have changed teaching positions at least 13 times between our middle school and elementary in that 22 years. Those assignments were third through eighth grades, teaching various subjects either self-contained or team teaching. Another position I held was upper elementary Title 1 for a few years. Since 2015, I have been our district’s Mason County school safety liaison. Each position during my career has given me better experience to help my students by using different curriculums and working with different teachers.”

Although only having four years of teaching at MCE, Rowe has a total of 21 years in the classroom.

“This is my 21st year of teaching,” she said. “My first teaching position was with Crestview Elementary School in Simi Valley, California teaching sixth grade. I have been at MCE for four years, where I have taught third grade; a second/third grade combo class; third through fifth  grade reading and this year has brought me back to third grade as a reading and English language arts teacher.”

Both, Sherman and Rowe said working with students is their number one favorite thing about teaching and they both love seeing their students having those ‘a-ha’ moments when learning new material. They also really enjoy learning new things from their students as well.

“So many (students) come to school every day wanting you to share information with them and then wanting to tell you things,” Sherman said. “Every year I learn something from my students. Another thing is when they go off campus and teach someone like a parent/guardian or a sibling something they learned. It is rewarding as then you know they got it. I enjoy being able to use sense of humor and using it to help them learn along with them knowing it is ok to be wrong sometimes. Do not be afraid to take educated risks. We aren’t right all the time. Learn from it.”

Working side-by-side with the same students each day has a lot of benefits when it comes to team teaching. Sherman and Rowe both enjoy trying out things the other has done in the past and sharing ideas of ways to change their approach when it comes to teaching different subject matters.

“I think young people are just wonderful, and I love planning lessons for them and watching them unfold in the classroom,” Rowe said. “Sometimes it’s a terrific lesson, and other times I’m thinking, ‘OK, I definitely need to tweak that,’ or ‘Yeah, I won’t be trying that again.’ But teachers always get another chance, another day, another year, another class. I love collaborating with my partner, Mr. Sherman, because so much can be accomplished when we can access each other’s creativity. Without collaboration, you are limited by your own perspectives.”

Sherman also responded, “I like are seeing things other teachers try or have used. Teachers share their ideas and materials. I think that is important. Mrs. Rowe is great to ask about ideas, curriculum and get feedback.”

In the past and still in many situations, Sherman and Rowe both said they believe that educators don’t always receive the accolades that they deserve. This could be because of a lack of education to the public of what teachers actually do throughout the day or it could just be a misconception or based on previous educational experiences.

With previous personal experiences in different classroom settings, to working together in what some might say has been the most challenging time for educators to date, Sherman and Rowe both love working as a team and they really hope their students see their passion for each and every one of them every day they enter the classroom.

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