by BRIANNA SICILIANO Staff Writer
The state of New Jersey has added a mandatory class to high school students’ required credits- Personal Finance and Economics. With this addition, Monroe Township High School added Mrs. Sherry Holmes to their staff.
Before working for MTHS, Mrs. Holmes worked in the business world for 10 years. She was a direct marketing manager and a national account coordinator.
“I was laid off from my job and the company went under, so I asked myself what I wanted to do with my life. I went back to school and decided to get my degree in teaching.”
Mrs. Holmes always wanted to be a teacher, but in her years at high school, her guidance counselor steered her in a different direction, telling her that she would be better suited for business. Unfortunately, she listened to her.
This is why she tells her students that they can do, and be, whatever they want as long as they put their heart and mind into it.
“Be yourself, work with yourself, know yourself,” Mrs. Holmes said.
Mrs. Holmes previously taught at Goetz Jackson Township Middle School for one year as a sixth grade Social Studies and Language Arts teacher. She then taught fourth grade, all subjects, for nine years.
Mrs. Holmes wanted a new opportunity with her teaching career in the district, so when the posting appeared for a high school teacher, she applied for it.
“I wanted to put my Business and Marketing degree to use, as well as my Master’s degree for teaching. Professionally and personally, it has been a terrific and rewarding change.”
Mrs. Holmes gives her students self-assessments to grade how well they are using their time, and iPads, in class. The more they participate, the higher their participation grade, leading to a higher overall grade. Each individual student has their choice to make the right decisions.
“I enjoy using the iPads, something that was not available for use in my previous years of teaching. The technology is right at our fingertips for use. There are no more excuses!” she said.
Students are pushed out of their comfort zone, and encouraged to take ownership of their education, facilitated by Mrs. Holmes. One of her favorite parts of teaching is that she learns new things from her students every day. She offers choices to her students, and gets them to change up their learning environment.
“Mrs. Holmes always tells us to make choices, she rarely chooses for us. It was annoying at first, since I hate making my own decisions, but now I am used to making choices of my own,” said freshman Toni Rothchild.
Big ideas and learning goals are always involved in her class. Students do not only use these big ideas with Personal Finance and Economics topics, but they relate these topics to real life. ‘Choices, changes, and responsibilities’, the three big ideas that constantly show up, are in everyday activities, not only in Mrs. Holmes’ class. Involving everyday actions helps her students understand and relate to their learning.
She believes that everyone should enhance their strengths and work on their weaknesses. When students complain about presenting their work to the class because they are uncomfortable, Mrs. Holmes incorporates presenting in her lesson plans more. The more you work on your weaknesses, the less weak you are.
“I participate the most in Mrs. Holmes’ class because she brings the lessons in very casual, breaking me out of my shell,” said sophomore Giulietta Flaherty.