Teacher of the Week: Mason makes difference

Published 9:10 pm Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yulanda Mason has five children that share her last name, but she’s quick to tell you she has a lot more kids than that.

Mason can’t walk down the hallway of Edgewood Elementary School without a former student stopping her to give her a hug. And with 14 years of teaching at the school, many students have passed through Mason’s classroom.

“I look at every student that comes in here as if they were one of the five in my house, and I have always done that,” Mason said. “They’re my babies.”

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In addition to her classroom kids, Mason’s kids are Koyasha, 15; Jlon, 12; Joleesia, 10; Caleb, 8; and Labria, 3.

Mason is from Orrville, graduated from Keith High School, and later received her undergrad at Concordia College Alabama and masters at the University of West Alabama.

Mason said she and her sister, Latoya Walker, used to play teacher growing up, and she’s always had a passion for helping others. So much so that she initially wanted to be a nurse but realized that she would get too attached and decided that teaching was exactly what she was meant to do.

“It all started as a little girl,” Mason said. “I love it.”

Mason started out teaching first grade, moved to teach kindergarten for a few years and recently moved back to first grade.

With 14 years of teaching, things are bound to change in the teaching world, but Mason does what she can to stay on top of things to better educate her students.

“Every year is a challenge. It’s not the same as when I first started,” Mason said.

“It gives me a chance to better myself because I have to go back and do more research to figure what strategies to use as opposed to things I was trying at the beginning.”

Mason said every day she is learning something new. If she notices her students aren’t grasping a concept or are struggling with a certain subject, she goes back to the drawing board to find another way to help them learn, even if that means spending time outside of the classroom researching and learning new techniques herself.

“As I teach the days lesson and I go back and reflect and I see that something is not working, I know I need to go and research a different way to bring it to them,” Mason said.

Overall, it’s all about her students.

“When I see them doing good, I’m happy. When I see them struggling or something wrong, I’m sad I want to know what’s going on,” Mason said. “I love children. Even if I’m having a bad day … when I come in the front door, by the time I get to my classroom whatever was bothering me is over with.”