Teacher in Focus: Tanya Jones
by Celia Shortt
(Tanya Jones teaches sixth grade language arts, literature, and social studies at Smokey Road Middle School. She is in her 19th year of teaching.)
Why did you become a teacher?
Because everyone in my family taught. My dad was a counselor at Newnan Crossing Elementary School and taught at Fairmont. My mother taught at Howard Warner, Elm Street Elementary School, and Ruth Hill Elementary School. My aunt taught at Ruth Hill, and my uncle taught at Arnco-Sargent Elementary School.
Where are you from?
I was born and bred here in Newnan. I am a Georgia Peach.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 19 years. I started at Canongate Elementary and then went to Elm Street. Came straight to Smokey Road after the teaching qualifications changed. I have been here at least seven years. This year, I went back to school and got my Specialist in Curriculum Instruction.
What do you do when you are not teaching?
I’m running around with my two daughters, Jana and Jenna. Jana is in her first year at Ruth Hill, and Jenna attends the Spirit of Excellence Christian School. That’s my fun.
If you were not a teacher, what would you be doing?
Working at Walt Disney World in the art department. I took some design classes in college. I was not sure if I was good enough at it to have a career in it. I do still draw a lot.
What is the best part of being a teacher?
The interaction with the kids. You can’t touch every heart, but the ones you do make it worth it. It is the kids who come back years from now and say you did make a difference. Like Mother Goose, I have that many kids who call me Momma Jones. They know what I do, I do out of love.
What is the one thing you want your students to learn?
Character. This generation does not know who they are as a person. Who you are as a person needs to be solved first. Also, balance education with being a better person. Teaching a life lesson every now and then is not a bad thing. We are all some kids have in a certain time frame. You have to show them they are loved. Some have never received it. Anybody can come from nothing and make it, but you have to want it.