HCS Changemaker: Mrs. Tirra Shoulders
Congratulations to Mrs. Tirra Shoulders, a third-grade teacher at Rolling Hills Elementary School, who has been selected as this week’s HCS Changemaker!Mrs. Shoulders says that she wanted to become a teacher so that she could be a life-changer for students and a positive role model for her community. She first knew it was something she wanted to do at a young age, when she would decorate her bedroom to look like a classroom – complete with bulletin boards. Her father would watch her play school and encouraged her to follow her dream, though he did caution that it could often be a challenge to work with children. A few teachers Mrs. Shoulders had growing up also had a large influence on her. She says that some of them were very strong, and even remained in touch with her mother throughout the years. Feeling the effect of that level of relationship building had a profound affect on her own teaching style.
“She’s always so engaged with her students,” says Rolling Hills Principal Dr. Linda Burrus, “she goes above and beyond.” Dr. Burrus goes on to say that Mrs. Shoulders takes charge and is a true leader, but she’s also a fantastic team player. She creates a highly structured classroom environment that is a safe place for students to learn and be comfortable with themselves. As Mrs. Shoulders puts it, “I want them to be courageous with who they are.” She is constantly engaging students, and it’s rare to not see hands in the air as they participate in the lesson of the day. Third-grade student Justice Love says, “Whenever we need help, she comes and helps us.” Aaralyn Hudson says, “She’s nice to everybody.”
Outside the classroom, Mrs. Shoulders enjoys spending time with her family, going out with friends, and shopping. She loves going to Mardis Gras and is quick to point out that her hometown of Mobile, AL is where the celebration got its start. She also loves getting to spend time cooking and experimenting with new recipes along with her friends.
The classroom seems to be Mrs. Shoulder’s native environment, however, and she works hard to build confidence in students as she establishes lasting relationships with them. She catches students off-guard by giving them praise when they accomplish something but think nobody is watching. Mrs. Shoulders has certainly accomplished her goal of being a life-changer for students and has also become a positive role-model in the community. Her father did caution that life as an educator could be challenging, but it certainly seems to be a challenge that Mrs. Shoulders has risen to with great success and grace.