Glens Falls City School District recognizes national Teacher Appreciation Week by highlighting committed and enthusiastic teachers from every one of our schools each day of the week! Read on for an inside interview with Jacqueline Smith—one of the most dynamic teachers around our district.
Recognizing our outstanding educators in GF Nation: Tuesday, 5.7.19
Jacqueline Smith: Kindergarten Teacher, Jackson Heights
1) What do you do to engage your students? What makes your teaching and learning environment unique?
I think it is important that all students feel loved and come to school each day with a sense of belonging. I believe that all students can learn and that learning differently requires teaching differently. I use the multiple-intelligences theory throughout my lessons. I incorporate music through singing and movement through dancing to teach a variety of concepts whether it’s sight words, math, science, or social studies. I use hands-on practice and technology to accompany many lesson objectives for students to physically observe and explore what they are learning.
2) Why do you think it’s important to teach the way you do?
It is so important to build relationships with students so they feel confident in their learning. I want my students to know that making mistakes is part of the learning process. As an early childhood educator, my goal is to build strong connections with my students and their families in order to set the stage for a positive educational career within the Glens Falls School District.
3) What do you feel is the most exciting thing about teaching?
The most exciting thing about teaching is instilling a passion for learning in my students. My goal is to inspire my students to have a love for learning and motivate them to become lifelong learners.
4) Describe your “best lesson ever.”
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many wonderful lessons that students learn between kindergarten and second grade. However, there is one that sticks out to me which is the life cycle of a butterfly. For this lesson, I receive baby caterpillars that are kept in the classroom. While watching the metamorphosis process students are actively engaged in conducting research to learn what is happening to our caterpillars. Students are excited to share with their friends and students from other classes the information that they have learned. Once our caterpillars have completed their transformation and have become butterflies we release them outside. Often times the learning process does not end there, as students engage in conversations with others sharing what they observed and learned whenever they see butterflies outside on the playground or even in other places.
5) Tell us a little more about yourself.
I went to South Glens Falls High School. I received my Bachelor’s in Regular and Special Education from the College of Saint Rose. I received my Master’s in Special Education from Purdue University. This is my sixth year teaching and my seventh year at GFSD. Currently, I am teaching kindergarten and I taught in a classroom for students in kindergarten through second grade for five years. My first year at GFSD was as a teaching assistant. My favorite unit to teach is the “Super Readers” Units of Study.