Jessica Levine

Berkeley County School District

 

1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?

I currently serve as an Instructional Technologist where I support educators in my district with transforming students’ learning experiences by effectively integrating technology and fostering next-generation skills. Each day is a new adventure for me. On some days, I am planning lessons with teachers to implement in their classrooms. On other days, I am co-teaching with them. I provide tailored support to meet educators’ diverse needs and strengths similar to how teachers personalize the learning experiences for their students.

2.)  What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?

 

I believe ALL children CAN learn, and it is our job as educators to help them find their greatest potential.

 

3.) Why did you become an educator?

 

I became an educator, so I can inspire all the students I encounter. My initial career path was in law, but I was always passionate about making a difference in children’s lives. My favorite teacher, Mr. Tagg, is definitely my role model. He made an effort to connect with all of his students, and he made learning fun by connecting games and real-world scenarios to the concepts we had to learn in Algebra. I truly want to have a lasting impression on students similar to the impression Mr. Tagg has had on me.

4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?

 

As a SCASCD Emerging Leader, I am hoping to use my diverse qualities to further the Whole Child Initiative in my local area. I want to use my gifts and talents to inspire and empower the next generation of students. I am constantly searching for ways to enhance students' learning experiences. Furthermore, I am a proponent for educational research. This is why I am currently pursuing my doctorate degree where my dissertation can address a gap in practice.

 

5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?

While working on my master’s degree, I took a course focused on the Understanding by Design Framework (UbD) developed by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins. This course prepared me to be efficient when planning for instruction and assessments. Using the UbD framework allowed me to focus on various parts of the curriculum where I could support my students deepen their understanding of the content and effectively use the skills they obtained.

In addition, the book, Teach like a Champion, greatly influenced my teaching career. I was able to implement various strategies listed in the book into my classroom. Some of my favorite strategies were No Opt Out, Strong Voice, and Wait Time. As a non-traditional teacher, I truly appreciated the practical examples provided in the book.

6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.   

 

My ability to form strong connections with students and parents made me realize I made a great career choice in education. I can recall meeting a student during my first year who had an interesting past. Due to his previous behavior issues, his mother moved him around to multiple schools to try to give him a fresh start every year. It was not until this student was in my class that he stayed in the same school for a whole year. He also received his first award that year for being the most improved student.

7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?

 

If I could change one thing about education, it would be to eliminate standardized testing, especially when our state’s focus is on promoting the skills and characteristics outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate through a more authentic and personalized approach.

8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?

 

My most rewarding experience as an educator was helping my students improve their reading skills. As a teacher, I had students with mixed ability levels when it came to reading. Some students were emerging readers, while others were fluent. I have also served students with disabilities and ELL students. Regardless of what level they were on, I was able to help them grow. I can recall a time when I had a student from Puerto Rico in my class who only spoke Spanish. I applied a variety of strategies to support this student with his language skills. Eventually, he started to speak English fluently and read beginning level books. It is exciting to know I had a role in providing foundation skills in these students' lives.

Eight Questions For SCASCD Emerging Leaders

© 2017 South Carolina ASCD.

Mailing Address: 

PO Box 238 Fairforest, SC 29336