Brittany Jackson knew she wanted to work with children in some capacity. That inclination has created a years-long bond that extends past her students’ time in her classroom.
Jackson, now in her fourth year as first-grade teacher at Aspire Charter Academy, had the same group of scholars from kindergarten through first grade. That group now is excelling in third grade, but still lets Jackson know how much they liked being in her classroom, asking when they can return.
“This lets me know that my teaching is not in vain, and I impacted lives,” she said. “As so, they have impacted mine as well. I still have parents that call me on the regular to keep me posted with the great things going on with their children.”
Jackson originally wanted to be a pediatrician, but after her first taste of teaching in 2014 as an assistant teacher at Irving Elementary in Hammond, Indiana, it was clear she was where she belonged.
“The little ones who I was able to work with made me look at children so differently,” Jackson said. “I was amazed of how much they soak in from learning their sounds and letters of the alphabet to pretending to act like me telling the class to be quiet.”
It did not take long for kids to instill a passion in Jackson that continues today at Aspire.
“They remember me, and they remember the lessons I taught them,” Jackson said. “We have built relationships like family and when times are rough, they always have a place to visit my classroom. I teach hard and love harder to all my kids no matter who their parents are or where they live at. We are all one big family in my room.
To keep students engaged, Jackson found a rhythm with a weekly awards ceremony in math and reading that doubles as a dance party. “Fun Friday” caps the week and sends kids out for the weekend on a celebratory note.
“The ceremony is a dance party where each person's name gets called and everyone goes to the prize box,” she said. “… Each Friday is filled with learning and excitement. We close each week with either a birthday party or themed celebration like popcorn day!”
Jackson’s high-energy methods extend through her students to their parents, said Jenetta Ross, Dean of Lower Elementary at Aspire. Ross noted that Jackson’s scholars have been recognized for highest attendance twice in one month, a testament to her magnetism.
“(Her) lessons are fully engaging and intentional for scholars' success” Ross said. “Her leadership and motivation for her team demonstrates one team, one goal for first grade.”
Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Jackson!
Aspire Charter Academy is a free public charter school in Gary, Indiana, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has 98 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
Aspire Charter Academy Teacher's Energy Keeps Students Invested for Years
Published: Mar 11, 2022NHA Communications Team