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Teaching is a ‘privilege’

POSTED: December 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Sandi Van Orden/

Janine Manior, the Effingham County School System teacher of the year, tries to make learning fun for students such as Drake Caldwell, Brittany Nease and John Moses.

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Janine Manior said the honor isn’t just in being named teacher of the year, it’s in being able to teach kids.

The South Effingham Elementary School third grade teacher was named the Effingham County teacher of the year and admitted she was shocked.   

“I was very surprised,” she said. “I was honored. It feels great to be appreciated and recognized for the hard work that you do every day. I feel appreciated by the kids every day, but to have your peers recognize you, I was very honored because it’s a privilege to teach kids.”

Manior has been teaching for 11 years and has been at SEES the entire time. She was a paraprofessional at Effingham County Middle School before becoming a teacher.

South Effingham Elementary Principal Cheryl Christain first met Manior when Manior was working for the PrYmeTYme at the school.

“I watched her interact with the kids out here,” Christain said. “I kept noticing this girl and how calm her group was and how she interacted with them, and I thought, ‘who is she?’”

Christain introduced herself to Manior a few days later and found she was going to become a teacher.

“As time went on, I told her, ‘as soon as you get done or you’re close, come and see me,’” Christain said. “And she did, and I was fortunate enough to have a position for her, and she’s been here ever since.”

She said Manior has many positive qualities, but the most significant is that she genuinely cares for her students.

“I’ve never seen her lose her patience,” Christain said. “I’ve never seen her display any attitude that appeared that she was frustrated, or that she had had enough of a student that she was irritated with a student, no matter what she just keeps plugging along, and she’s got this great patience.”

She said Manior has clear expectations for her students.

“She doesn’t put up with foolishness, and she expects them to work and to learn,” Christain said. “But she provides such a positive classroom environment, and on a staff, on a faculty she’s just a dream because she just provides such a positive inspiration for everyone. If you ask her to do something or need something she’s always available.”

Christain said the other teachers on Manior’s hall say, “they wouldn’t know what to do without her because she keeps them organized.”

“We adore her. She’s fabulous,” Christain said.

Manior said her desire to work with students and her love for the subject drew her to teaching, and she enjoys working with the kids and making a difference in their lives. A language arts teacher, Manior also expressed a love for the content she teaches.

“I love reading, and I love to get them excited about learning also,” she said.

 She said she enjoys the variety of experiences she has as a teacher.

“Every day is different and you have different experiences,” Manior said. “Teachers are counselors, we’re friends and we’re instructors. We’re able to impact their lives every day. They look to someone positive, and they look to a role model, and they want you to listen to them.”

Manior said students take in information and are able to give that information back, but they also “want you to listen to their ideas.”

“They’re very creative and innovative,” she said, “and it’s nice to see them grow as the year goes on. Just from August I can see a big change.”

She said she enjoys watching the students grow each year because with each new group of students the process is different.

Manior said the hardest part of her job is the time constraints. There are a lot of areas that are required to be taught, and that limits some of the things that she may want to teach that aren’t as important in the curriculum.

“We have seven hours to teach, and during those hours we have lots of things that we need to do for different students that takes time,” she said. “It can be done — you just have to prioritize what you have to get done in that particular day. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for a new teacher because you have lots of tasks that have to be completed, and you have to manage your time wisely in order to get them completed.”

Manior said she hopes her students remember her as a caring teacher.

“I would say as a warm teacher, one who’s caring, one who has high expectations for them because I expect them to succeed because they have so many different strengths,” she said. “You have some who are artistic, you have some who are wonderful writers, you have some who are very dramatic and they could be an actor or an actress, you have some who are more logical and with their mathematics their very strong with that.”

Manior said she encourages her students to pursue their strengths.

“Every child is different, and I try to remember that,” she  said.

On Wednesday Drake Caldwell, Brittany Nease and John Moses were working on a group project for Manior. All three described Manior as nice.

“She teaches us good things, and she’s always in a good mood,” Nease said. “When she works with us, she makes it fun.”

Caldwell described Manior as exciting, and said he enjoys reading for her class.

Nease said the students commonly work in groups, and that it is nice to help each other.

“It’s a lot easier to help each other,” Moses added.

Nease also described Manior as patient, and a teacher who explains thing to her students.

“She loves reading, and she collects snow globes,” she said. “When we’re acting up, she doesn’t holler like most teachers do she just says quit that. She (has) a really soft voice.”

Manior and her husband Greg, a teacher and the head football coach at South Effingham High School, have two children, Daria and Dexter. She hopes her students remember her high expectations and that she cares about them.

“They have the ability,” she said. “I believe they should learn the basics, so they can pursue whatever it is in their career, and when they become an adult, so they can become a productive member of society. One day they will grow up and choose their career.

“That’s what I would want them to remember — that I really noticed what their strength was, and that I tried to bring it out, and that I had high expectations. That’s the main thing because they can do well if they set their mind to it.”

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