The Dart: McNealy enjoys after-school duty at Frazier ElementaryPublished 12:01am Monday, May 20, 2013
NATCHEZ — When third grader Tyler Williams hears his named called over the megaphone it can only mean one thing.
“It means your car is here,” Williams said.
And the announcement comes courtesy of Jacqueline McNealy, who was busy letting students know their ride had arrived when The Dart landed on Frazier Elementary School Wednesday.
McNealy, a computer lab facilitator, has been at Frazier for seven years but has only been doing after-school carpool duty for two years, she said.
“I don’t mind it,” McNealy said. “Another girl (also) does it, but she’s been busy, so I’m filling in. I enjoy it, and I basically know all the cars.”
The carpool line gets busy weekday afternoons, and McNealy constantly has to let students know about their parents’ arrivals as she stands in the street to direct incoming traffic. The megaphone is used so she doesn’t have to scream at the students from a long distance. That’s a far cry from teaching in the computer lab, she said.
After-school duty lasts from approximately 3 p.m. to 3:20 or 3:25, McNealy said. After a while, McNealy said she started recognizing cars without their drivers having to roll down their windows and tell her which student they were picking up.
“One day, someone asked me how I remember all this,” McNealy said. “I guess doing it so long, you know them as they come, and you know the faces, too. I converse with them sometimes — I’ll ask them how they’re doing and tell them to have a good day.”
It’s also a nice change of pace after being in a computer lab all day.
“It’s nice being out in the fresh air,” she said.
With so many children to alert, McNealy uses the megaphone quite a bit. While students are more than happy to hear their names called, at least one said he only likes it when it’s his turn to go home.
“It’s loud,” second-grader Austin King said. “It gets too loud sometimes.”
When it comes to teaching in the computer lab, McNealy said the best part is interacting with the children.
“Some of them know a lot (about computers), especially the older kids,” she said. “It makes it easier. The kids enjoy coming, and we have different programs that we do.”
Third-grader Ayana Barnes said she enjoys having McNealy teach them about computers.
“She helps us a lot when we’re working with the computers,” Barnes said. “She’s nice, and she’s easy to talk to.”
McNealy said she takes her job in the computer lab seriously, since it’s important that children understand their assignment.
“I know I wouldn’t want to sit in there and not know what to do,” McNealy said. “I would like someone to help me.”