Waco ISD teacher celebrates 42 years in the profession

Posted at 12:11 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 13:22:54-05

With more and more teachers leaving the profession early in their careers, it's not everyday that one meets an educator who's been teaching for decades. One Waco ISD teacher is celebrating 42 years in the profession and 30 at the District.

At a young age, Jane Sykes knew she wanted to be a teacher after tutoring one of her childhood neighbors.

"I don't remember exactly what I did to help him learn them, but I enjoyed teaching him and he learned them and I knew from that point on that's what I was going to do. There was never a doubt,” Sykes assured.

After starting her teaching career in 1974 in a suburb of Dallas, Mrs. Sykes moved with her husband and kids to Waco.

“My life began when we moved to Waco in 1986. That's when teaching became really, really fun for me,” Sykes said.

Sykes is a seventh grade math teacher at the Atlas Academy at Tennyson Middle School. She said she pops out of the bed the moment her alarm goes off--an energy and excitement that her students feel everyday.

"She's really fun and she's really fair. She's not going to show favoritism,” Andrew Herrera, Mrs. Sykes’s student, said.

“My favorite thing is probably that she always gives us a visual representation instead of just making us do it on paper,” Billy Henderson, another student said.

And while she's a math teacher, she holds students accountable on more than just math.

"I expect manners, I expect kindness--correct grammar,” Sykes said.

Although she's been teaching for over four decades, Mrs. Sykes says her profession is so powerful--she's constantly looking for ways to improve.

"How to teach linear representations so many different ways to so many different levels. But, that's good--that keeps me going. If it was easy, I probably wouldn't want to do it anymore,” Sykes said.

Mrs. Sykes said that when she decides that she doesn't have the energy to teach anymore, she'll become a full-time grandmother to her three grandchildren.

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