Educator Spotlight: Jessica Rock
Meet Jessica Rock
What grades do you teach, and/or your title/role?
I have the privilege of serving as a second grade classroom teacher.
What school, district or institution do you work for? Location?
I work at Hiawatha Elementary School in Berwyn South School District 100. Our district is located in the western suburbs of Chicago.
Who inspired you to become an educator?
My fourth and fifth grade teachers inspired me to become an educator. I was very shy as a child and these teachers took the time to get to know me personally. It made me feel valued in the classroom and excited to come to school each day. I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps and be the teacher that makes all students feel “seen.”
What motivates you?
Knowing that each day I have the opportunity to make an impact on a student’s life—whether that be big or small.
What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?
Prioritize work-life balance. You cannot help others if you do not help yourself first.
What do you wish more people knew about being an educator?
A lot of educators struggle with work-life balance, as mentioned before. The responsibilities of a classroom teacher often seem endless. I wish people knew how much time and effort educators put into their work, even after the last bell has rung.
What do you love most about Bridges curriculum/math apps/MLC?
I once attended a webinar where there was a quote from Dan Finkel which said, “Play is to mathematics as books are to reading.” This is something that has stuck with me. I love that Bridges curriculum prioritizes “math play” through Work Places. Students are able to find joy in math by playing with materials, language, and ideas.
What do you love most about working with students?
I love that each day educators take steps to help students achieve their goals. Seeing them make growth towards these goals brings me so much happiness.
What’s your math story? In other words, how do you feel about math and why?
Growing up, math is something that used to really intimidate me. I was very afraid of raising my hand and sharing the wrong answer. Because of this, math was something I dreaded each day.
When I became a teacher, I wanted to make sure no student felt this way in any subject—particularly math. My class and I have embraced a growth mindset, emphasizing the power in learning from mistakes. Now my students have become risk takers, and I see smiling, excited faces during math time, instead of the nervous ones I remember from my own childhood. Many students even say that math is their favorite subject. Through these experiences with my classes, I’ve grown to love math as much as my students do.
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