Quartermaster 2nd Class (QM2) Janice Sharp constantly finds herself juggling careers and many aspects of her life, but the impact she makes through her diverse involvement is well worth the effort, she says.
Sharp is the training and exercise petty officer for Commander, 7th Fleet’s Reserve unit, and drills at Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Fort Worth at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.
In addition to her duties for 7th Fleet, Sharp is able to balance her job as a science teacher at Rosemont Middle School in the Fort Worth Independent School District, as well as maintain her home as a wife and mother of four.
“It’s a surreal transition sometimes,” Sharp said. “On Sunday, I’ll help others deal with problems and issues most of the world doesn’t know about, like assisting the Korean Navy during a training exercise. Then on Monday, I’ll come into the classroom and find a child who hasn’t had breakfast that morning or didn’t take a shower because his parents couldn’t afford the water bill.
“I guess it’s a reality check for me.” Teaching is a passion for some. QM2 Sharp is no exception. Teaching science to sixth graders is something she says she’s excited about every day. The fact that her Navy experience has a direct impact in the classroom is an added benefit.
“I love teaching. Sometimes I’ll stop what I’m doing and we’ll talk about life lessons,” she said. Sharp said one of the benefits of being a teacher is the opportunity to encourage and prepare children for their future. She has taken advantage of that opportunity many times and hopes they’ll carry those lessons with them into high school and beyond.
“I tell them that it’s so important to get into something after they graduate,” she said. “At this age they’re not really focused on the future. They are focused on right now and themselves. Hopefully I’ve encouraged them to think about the big picture.”
Sharp says that the global perspective she gains from her Navy experience gives her better insight into almost every aspect of her life. The issues in the classroom each day have a direct impact on her Navy career as well.
Those who observe her work in the classroom see how both careers complement each other. “Mrs. Sharp is very patient and cares about the individuals around her,” said Ben Leos, Rosemont Middle School principal. “I sincerely believe her time and experiences in the Navy enhanced her ability to adapt to change and multitask.”
Leos said that many kids, especially young ladies, look up to Sharp as a role model. “Our students see firsthand that they too can maintain a successful career, serve their country and have a tight-knit family,” he said.
Her involvement and interaction with the children at school has an impact in the kids’ lives that is very noticeable, one teacher observed.
“She inspires many students, both male and female alike,” said Sylvia Byrd, Sharp’s team leader at Rosemont. “Every day at lunch you will see students visit with her. They are just drawn to her.”
Sharp agrees that it is very difficult to manage two careers and a family and that may appear overwhelming to most.
“As far as juggling, it is hard; but you just do what you have to do,” Sharp explained. “Our faith gets us through.”
Her husband, Quarter Master 1st Class Jonathon Sharp, is also a Navy Reservist. He came back on duty after finishing college. The two drill on the same weekend at NOSC Fort Worth. Their children say they are excited to be part of a military family and appreciate the fact that both their parents are in the Navy.
“We’re on base quite a bit,” QM2 Sharp said. “They know what it’s all about—that it’s a part of our lives as well as theirs. If they decide to go into the military, that’s great. But if they don’t, I’ll respect that.”
Respect is something Sharp continues to gain from her fellow sailors and officers. The effort she gives while performing her duties at NOSC Fort Worth does not go unnoticed, either.
“I’m impressed by her work ethic and initiative,” said Capt. Mark “Woody” Woodall, the 7 th Fleet Reserve unit’s commanding officer. “Not only does she put 110 percent into her job when she’s drilling, she also does a really good job combining and intertwining all aspects of her life.”
For most, balancing Navy, career, and home would seem no easy task, and Sharp agrees. She also said that each aspect of her life helps make her stronger in achieving the duties of the others.
“I feel like I’m really making a difference with the Navy,” Sharp said. “And in the classroom, if I could just change one kid’s life, then I’ve done my job as a teacher.
“I may never see that, but just knowing that I’m planting a seed is satisfaction enough.”