We are so excited to announce that our Feature Teacher for February 2021 is Mrs. Jackie Nance.
How did you decide to a get into the field of Early Childhood Education?
My career path while in high school was supposed to be something to do with computers. It’s crazy because I don’t look at myself at all now as being that computer savvy. Haha! I remember needing a job my senior year for a class I was taking at FC. My teacher, Jessie Brown, told me and another student about an opening at a child care center. Coming from a huge family with many in the educational field, I thought why not. I also loved being around kids. That opening happened to be here at this school. It was the beginning of a passion I never really knew I had.
Why did you want to teach at Parish Day School?
As I stated earlier, the job fell in my lap by way of a job opportunity for a high school elective class. Riding by you’d never know this little gem was tucked away back here. If I remember correctly, at that time there were like 3 separate programs here in the building. There was Parish Day School, Chapel Cherubs and Children First. Parish Day was for morning preschool only and I believe the director at the time was Catherine Dozier. Chapel Cherubs was a half day Twos program and the parents could choose either AM or PM. Children First consisted of full day care for 2s and 3s, an extended care program for some of the morning preschoolers called CAPS(Children After Preschool) and ASK, which was an after school program for public school Kindergartners. This was way before we grouped all the programs together under one umbrella. I interviewed with Janet Cady, who was the director of Children First and got the job as a Teacher’s Aide in one of the two ASK classes. I mean hey, I was a 17 year old Senior getting out of school early each day. I could come and have fun with kids, my day would end by 6pm AND I had weekends off. It didn’t get any better than that! Later on I realized that it was a huge blessing that God had set up for me.
Do you have a role model or hero that inspired you?
Ooh, it’s hard to just choose one for this answer. I have been blessed to work alongside some of the most phenomenal teacher “sheroes” that have inspired me in some way. From the very beginning there were Tracy Finn and Zee Parker. Those two ladies took me under their wing and gave me that foundation I needed. Dr. Navine Fortune had a teaching style that was on another level. She was young like me, but had so much knowledge and wisdom. Her classroom commanded attention when you walked in it, AND SO DID SHE! Haha! You could just see the hard work and creativity that she put behind it. It was so engaging. So many nuggets I’ve held on to from her and so many others like Jean Edwards, Vicki Kirby, Jennie Lutz and several others. All with different teaching styles but the same common goals for the students. To develop a love for learning in a fun and safe environment.
What do you bring to Parish Day School that makes you unique?
I think I bring a fun and positive attitude to Parish Day. The students tell me I’m sooo funny. I beg to differ. Haha! Each and every day, regardless of how my morning may go on the way in, I am determined to be the best version of me. How can I encourage them when I haven’t tried to encourage myself? The children feed off of our energy.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is recognizing that each child that comes through the classroom year after year is different and special in their own way. My job is to meet them right where they are and inspire them to be who they are and who God made them to be. I’m sure sometimes to them I may come off as a little harsh but it’s only because I see the potential in them and I try my best to pull it out of them. I love and care about each student I come in contact with.
What is your favorite thing about being part of the Parish Day School Team?
I think one of the best things about being a part of the PDS team is having the opportunity to see how so much has changed throughout early childhood development from when I first started as a Senior in high school. Also, the connections I’ve made with so many of the children. Most of them have never even been in my class. I just love children! In years past, I used to love to see the look of wonder on the face of a parent trying to figure out how I knew their child’s name even though I wasn’t he or she’s teacher. It’s because somehow we made a connection. I’ve made lasting connections/friendships with families and staff here that have gone far beyond the walls of the building.
Do you have a favorite time of year at Parish Day School?
This may sound funny, but the end of the year is my favorite time of the school year. When you’re able to look back at how you started with a fresh group of students and see the growth and progression in the end, it’s a wonderful feeling of fulfillment. Believe it or not, we teachers get nervous for the start of a new year too no matter how long we’ve been teaching. We research and plan not really knowing what will work and what won’t. If we see a difference made in one, we’ve done our job right. All it takes is one!
Do you have a favorite quote or motto?
I have a scripture that I’ve always lived by and it’s a favorite in my home. My husband and I have my daughter to recite each day. It is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” It is my go to when I hear the students say they can’t do something. I remind them that they can. Each week during our chapel lessons, I remind them that they can. And every now and then when “one of those days” try to creep up on me, I remind myself that I can.