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More in Community
Molding the future: Jessika Sheldrick, Otisfield Community School
OTISFIELD – Jessika Sheldrick is a second-grade teacher at the Otisfield Community School and has been teaching there for 11 years.
Sheldrick grew up in nearby Casco.
“When I was a child, I loved to read, write, swim, and spend hours imagining different worlds with my childhood best friend, Molly Chute-Watson.”
She may not have realized it at the time, but being a teacher was in her blood since the young age of four.
“My mother would tell me that I played teacher all the time with my younger sister, Jillian,” she said.
Sheldrick may have wanted to be a teacher since the age of four, but realizing and understanding that it could actually come true didn’t come until high school.
“I never honestly thought that I could be a teacher because we didn’t have money to go to college,” she explained. “But when I went to high school I had a teacher named Jake Laferriere, and he explained that I could take out loans and get scholarships.”
Not only did she get her undergraduate degree at the University of Maine at Farmington, she got her master's at the University of Southern Maine.
Farmington was also where she met her husband.
“Dave and I were married in 2000,” she said, “and we have both worked very hard to get where we are at today.”
“We enjoy setting our goals with each other,” she added.
Before settling in at Otisfield, Sheldrick started teaching at the Waterford Elementary.
“It was pretty embarrassing when I found out I was being transferred to Otisfield,” she laughed. “I was having a meeting with Dr. Eastman, the former superintendent and he told me about my new position. I was excited, but nervous too. I told him that I was excited, but that I had no clue where Otisfield was and asked him if it was far away. He looked at me; I think trying not to laugh and said ‘Didn’t you grow up in Casco?’ When he told me it was the next town over, my face blushed, bright, bright red!”
Her best part of teaching is the children.
“I just love the kids,” she glowed. “When a child has struggled and struggled; worked and worked, I love seeing and being with a child when she or he gets it. It’s just amazing to be a part of it.”
Being pregnant during the school year can be funny with second graders.
“I had a new student (who had quite figured out that I was very pregnant at the time),” she laughed. “I dropped something and had a really hard time picking it up. She came over and said, ‘Mrs. Sheldrick, maybe if you didn't eat so many snacks you wouldn't be so fat and then you could bend over and get the stuff.'"
“Students can also teach me a lot,” she added. “I was having a really rough day and a student leaned over and said, ‘Mrs. Sheldrick, you gotta just keep living like a rock star.’ My whole day changed.”
This teacher’s favorite part of the day is writing with her students.
“I think my students would say the same thing. They know that I love to write with them because that is when their imaginations are at their best. I hope to someday write and publish books, and this is the next best thing.”
When the school year ends it can be very emotional.
“I have worked so hard during the year and so have the students. It’s like wow, we did it! We got to where we needed to get and then some. For the students, it’s a celebration day, but for me when I have to say goodbye, it’s very emotional.”
During the summer Sheldrick enjoys her own children.
“Dave and I have a 7-year-old named Shelby-Lynn and she is in second grade this year and very excited. Helena is two and she is a wild woman! In the summer I just love to spend every day with them. If it’s nice, we are at the beach. We also go hiking, camping and enjoy having fun together. Acadia National Park is our favorite place to be in the summer.”
Being a teacher is very rewarding.
“I know it sounds cliché, but it's true ... . I love being with the students. I love being with them and helping them get through when they make a mistake and I love being with them when they have opportunities to celebrate things.”
Sheldrick and her family reside in Sebago.