Stephanie Jacobs

Brooklyn Springs Elementary

 

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

My current role as an Instructional Technology Coach enables me to be a support to staff and students in a variety of ways. I provide professional development for teachers as they integrate technology through our district’s one-to-one initiative in grades 3 through 5. I also have the opportunity to work with students in order to introduce them to coding and computer science lessons. In addition, I provide daily technical support in our building as well as keeping up our social media presence and online communications with families. My goal is to provide a positive digital experience for everyone ensuring that we integrate the 4 C’s with communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. 

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

 

My philosophy of education is that it is a continuous process in which you never stop learning and growing.  

3.) Why did you become an educator?

 

I always give credit to my Teacher Cadet teacher, Ms. Pamela Walters, for her inspiring words that encouraged me to pursue education. At the end of our class, many of us were not considering education as a career. She posed the question to us: Who would we want teaching our children (in the future)? She stated that she considered us to be the best and the brightest. In her opinion, she felt that’s who should be pursing careers in education. After careful consideration, I agreed with her and took this as a “call to action” to step up to the plate. 

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

 

As a member of the Emerging Leaders Program, I look forward to being an advocate in education. It is my desire to support the mission of “improving the teaching and learning of all students” by providing opportunities for professional growth for educators. I will represent the Emerging Leaders Program as a presenter at various conferences. I will also continue to share resources in an effort to encourage continuous growth for myself and my colleagues in the state. It is my desire to support teacher advocacy and be a voice for change in education. My goal is to represent the educators in my state while also providing information that will enhance our knowledge of policy as it relates to the profession. In order to be successful, I know that I must stay current with new trends and research as it relates to student achievement, curriculum, and instruction.    

 

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

 

I believe that I benefit from a variety of professional development opportunities. The most convenient type is online. With this type of learning, it can be self-paced and I probably get the most “take-aways” from webinars or online courses. My favorite type of professional development would be attending conferences. I enjoy getting to meet new people and sharing ideas. I loved being a part of hosting edcamps in the state of South Carolina (Edcamp Palmetto). These were genuine learning experiences that helped me to build relationships with many educators throughout the state. And the most unique, is through social media. Surprisingly, being connected via social media has been a quick way for me to gain ideas, seek feedback, and make connections that I would not get to make in my normal day-to-day routines. I am currently attending a Leadership Academy through Facebook Live on Saturday mornings. I am also participating in a Coaching book club using the same platform.

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

 

I think I came to this realization early on in my career. I had the privilege of working at a great school with a supportive staff. I was truly blessed to have two great administrators who believed in me from the start of my career. They instilled in me a mindset that I could accomplish anything  with persistence and hard work. My mentor teacher was also phenomenal. I can remember during our scheduled meetings, we would discuss things over a delicious cup of peach tea. One particular moment in my career that stands out was being observed by my assistant principal at the time, Lannie Love. I truly admired her and when she came in to observe, she did not sit quietly tucked away. She sat with my students and participated in the lesson.  Afterwards, she sent me a beautiful card with the most inspiring words of encouragement. It was at that moment that I knew I was on the right track and I always wanted to make her proud.

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 the lack of respect that educators seem to receive from policymakers. I would love for teachers to be viewed as professionals and have opportunities to be at the table when decisions are being made concerning education policy, practice, and procedures. 

 

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

 

One of my most rewarding experiences as an educator is one that I often reference in my current role as an Instructional Technology Coach. During my last years in the classroom, I worked to establish a student-centered classroom that focused on technology integration. I introduced my first grade students to coding and used every available technology tool to provide them with access. My students learned to code, we used Skype to build worldwide connections, and in the end my students hosted two events to showcase their skills. One event was a schoolwide Hour of Code and the other was presenting at a worldwide online conference. I was so proud to see my students teaching others, including adults and high school learners, how to code.  They had become complete, independent thinkers and true masters at their craft. In my eyes, it was the culmination of what education is about: preparing students to handle content on their own and then passing on that knowledge to others. 

Eight Questions For SCASCD Emerging Leaders

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