Early childhood educator Shondra M. Quarles was lucky enough to know her calling at an early age. As she grew up, she discovered that she could be do even more as a teacher through writing. Not knowing a thing about publishing a book, she inspired herself and learned how to self-publish her first paperback book. She most recently won an award from the National Celebrity Educators for authoring the book “The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to Go to School.” She’s inspiration, empowerment and making an impact all wrapped into one! #inspireyourself
“I have known that I wanted to become a teacher since I was five years old. Mrs. Tieuel, my kindergarten teacher, inspired me. My love of children also motivated me to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. The children I have taught motivated me to write my first book ‘Kindergartner Wisdom.’ Children’s perspectives on life are simple, humorous and even logical at times. I am learning to listen to children because they have important things to say.”
How did you get to where you are and what challenges did/do you face?
“I got to where I am today because I felt like there had to be more to my life. My passion is teaching, yet along the way I have discovered my God-given gifts. I discovered that I could draw through teaching. I also discovered that I was an author through teaching. I truly believe that my purpose is connected to what I do every day and that is TEACHING.
“One major challenge I face is finding time to write. I have a difficult time being creative when trying to manage my teacher workload. That was one reason I wrote ‘The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to Go to School.’ The demands of teaching can be extremely stressful. So, I used a real problem in my life as a subject to write about. I literally turned a stumbling block into a stepping stone. I also did not know anything about book publishing, which was another challenge. It took a lot of perseverance, as well as trial and error, to figure things out. I made lots of mistakes but I learned from those mistakes because I never gave up…even when I felt like giving up!”
Who is your she-ro?
“My she-ro is my late Grandmother, Mae H. Dawson. As a young child, she would work in the fields in order to help her family. One of her goals was to graduate high school so that she would not have to spend her life working in the fields. She accomplished her goal and was the only one out of 14 siblings to graduate. She even took some Nursing courses in college, but cooking was her passion. She was an entrepreneur at heart who at one time managed her own cafe. She even owned a few rental properties and grew her own vegetables. I still remember her getting up before the sun came up to get ready for work. No matter what the circumstances were, she always kept a job until she was unable to work due to diabetes complications. She was one of the hardest-working women I have ever known. Her life was the epitome of ‘UGauGrrl.'”
What does the term”UGauGrrl” (“you go girl”) mean to you?
“I feel that ‘UGAUGRRL’ is an affirmation for girls and women to go after their dreams and pursue their passions. Always be a ‘go-getter’ and don’t let anything, whether it is your age, race, or even gender, deter you. Always #dreambig and go for it!”
“One of my favorite quotes by Einstein is actually featured in my book ‘The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to Go to School’: ‘Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.’
Learn more about Shondra:
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