SYLVANIA - Rather than slowing down after 34 years of service as an educator, Screven County High School's Carol Ayers seems to be fueled by the stability her experience provides her in everyday instruction.
During an interview with the Statesboro Herald, Ayers alluded to the ease of teaching and confidence that comes with experience, allowing all her energy to be channeled where it is necessary - the students.
After leaving Pensacola, Fla., Ayers taught in Cobb County, Ga., before making her home in Sylvania in 1978.
She has been a part of Screven County schools ever since, moving from elementary to high school in 1987.
Before beginning her teaching career, Ayers earned her Bachelor and Masters degrees in education at the University of Georgia and her EDS at what was then Georgia Southern College. Ayers attributes her decision to pursue a career in education to her mother, Eileen Beauregard, home economics and fourth grade teacher.
Currently she leads Teaching as a Profession instruction for ninth through 12 graders. She said it is a venue that allows her to touch students for a life time. Ayers' peers say five minutes in her classroom is enough to see that her students' learning experience extends beyond the classroom.
"I am constantly amazed when I walk into her classroom to see the level of learning that is taking place," said Joyce Jamerson, Screven High's instructional coach. "She facilitates her students to reach the point where they are self-learners, motivated and very dependable.
"It is truly amazing to watch-I would love to be able to sit in her classroom everyday to see the changes as they take place in her students," Jamerson said, "and the methods she uses to facilitate these changes.
Three of Ayers' students have served as a Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) state officer in the past five years. Her FCCLA students have won numerous competitive awards such as eight first place wins at the state level, Ayers said, allowing those students to compete at the national level, where four of the eight earned gold medals.
Her students have earned a first, second, and third place in state FCCLA competitive events so far this fall.
Ayers said she is most proud of her students for their desire to better their school and community by tackling tough issues. For example, students recently presented a 30-minute program for elementary students entitled "We're Doing Our Best to Give Bullying a Rest."
After students researched, planned, wrote, and rehearsed their program, they used skits, songs, and peer leaders to teach younger students how to deal with a bully.
Ayers also has taught a program that allows peer-to-peer preparation for middle school students entering high school. Eighth graders sit in a high school class and experience class changes when they are paired with a high school student for a few hours each spring.
Ayers expects a great deal from her students but relates her curriculum to real life situations and provides them with experiences they would not be exposed to otherwise, said Judy Reddick, Business and Computer Science Teacher.
Last year, students also presented "The Great American Smoke-Out," encouraging others to stay away from tobacco and other drugs, Reddick said.
Screven High's education program is currently undergoing Industry Certification, Ayers said, in which the Career, Technical and Agriculture Education programs are scrutinized for accreditation. Ayers is preparing her students as well as the numerous folders of documentation necessary for the completion of the accreditation process.
"I love working with these talented, smart, energetic young people as well as promoting quality care and education for children," said Ayers.
When asked about her accomplishments throughout her full career, she said, "The recognition I treasure most from teaching is receiving a phone call, letter or e-mail from a former student, eager to share what is happening in his or her life."
"It is especially gratifying," she said, "to see former students as teachers and leaders in their classrooms, schools, communities and homes."
Ayers and her husband Phillip have one son, Duff, 25, a current student of law at UGA.