The Dart: Sharon Freeman

Published 12:01 am Monday, April 9, 2012

Sharon Freeman has been a first-grade teacher for more than 27 years. Freeman currently teaches first grade at Cathedral School. Freeman said after one year of teaching sixth grade, she knew she wanted to work with the younger children. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Sharon Freeman has worn many hats for the children in her life during the past 27 years, but she picked up her latest role Feb. 29.

Freeman has been a mother, a teacher, a mother/teacher, a friend’s mother/teacher and, most recently, a grandmother.

Now Freeman is a first-grade teacher at Cathedral School, where her youngest daughter, Caroline, is a junior. But when Freeman started teaching in the local public schools, her oldest daughter was just a baby.

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Now her oldest daughter, Ashley Crisp, is mom to 1-month-old Audrey.

When The Dart landed at Freeman’s house on Raintree Street Thursday, Freeman had just arrived home from an Easter egg hunt field trip with her class.

Looking back on her long teaching career, Freeman said she’s noticed children today are different, but one thing never changes.

“(Students) don’t think you have a life when they see you outside of school,” Freeman said.

When Caroline was in her class, it complicated her students’ illusion that teachers only exist in the classroom. When Caroline had classmates to their house for a sleepover, Freeman’s students had to face reality.

“It was strange (for my students) to be at Ms. Freeman’s,” she said.

“It was weird,” Caroline agreed.

Freeman is a new grandmother. Freeman’s oldest daughter, Ashley Crisp, gave birth to her daughter, Audrey, on Feb. 29.

That same year, Freeman experienced another teaching first.

Along with teaching her own daughter, Freeman taught the daughter of one of her former students.

Kimble Devening was in Freeman’s class with Caroline at Cathedral, and Freeman taught Devening’s mother, Anna Jones Devening, at McLaurin Elementary School in 1981.

“(Kimble) was my first grandbaby,” Freeman said — in teacher speak.

Freeman’s life has been centered on children, and that’s the way she likes it.

Like her Chihuahua, Chico, Freeman said it’s the grade level that picks the teacher the way she believes dogs can pick their owners.

At one time she taught sixth grade but discovered she belongs in a classroom of younger children.

Freeman said she loves the fact that she can teach her students their letters in the first weeks of school and watch the progress to reading with ease by the summer.

“You can see the light bulbs go on,” Freeman said.

“That’s what makes it so worthwhile to teach little people.”

Caroline joked with her mother that she and her classmates used to do each other’s schoolwork in class just to see if she would notice, something Freeman denies.

“I would know,” Freeman said, showing her successful combination of motherly and faculty instincts.