Written by Micah Xu, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)
Meet Mrs. Sweat, a media specialist working at GSMST in the Student Research Center. Mrs. Sweat is not technically a teacher per se, but rather a jack-of-all-trades. She represents the heart and soul of GSMST, the idea that education and curriculum can be strict yet satisfying, and that teachers and adults do not have to be frightening.
Indeed, it is a key component of GSMST to believe that the faculty and staff are not against you, but rather for you, and Mrs. Sweat represents that idea by offering both academic help in the form of research, reading and internship assistance and recreational activities such as painting, sculpting and, her personal favorite, talking about books and novels.
According to Mrs. Sweat, the reason she works at GSMST as a media specialist is: “Because I get to connect with kids about books, and I love hearing what they like and sharing what I like.” For her, it is about expanding the knowledge of literature and novels that makes her job enjoyable and fulfilling. She also says that especially at a “math and science” school, there are many kids who come to the school to avoid reading, only to find that they will have to do a lot of it between required works of literature in Language Arts and their textbooks in Biology, Calculus and AP US History. She takes it upon herself to educate these students on how to read well and enjoy it, and that alone makes her admirable.
She is also down to Earth in the way that she addresses the students. Her teaching philosophy when she does teach is: “Respect students and try to encourage them in pathways of knowledge they might not have known they wanted before.” This teaching philosophy is what has carried her as a mentor, someone who treats the students as equal as opposed to looking down on them and their mistakes and misconceptions. This carries over into her main role, which is to help students find their own research for their papers. She says that she loves to help students navigate the internet and says that there is an innate joy and happiness that comes across her when she sees a student “figure something out on their own”, and it helps that she feels pride, both in herself and the student, that she was the one who helped them reach their full potential.
According to Mrs. Sweat, it’s all worth it, because after all: “The best work is the work we can see years into the future, and I can see that in every student.”