Lights. Camera. Jackson! Jessica Jackson, to be exact, our nominated Teacher of the Month, is the Theatre Director at Daphne High School.
“I did not intend to be a teacher. I planned to be a famous actor or, at the very least, get signed on with a Shakespeare Festival,” said Mrs. Jackson. “This is my first year at Daphne, and the kids are amazing. They love theatre just as much as I do. I am enjoying every minute with them.”
Mrs. Jackson graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and a Master’s in English Language Arts Secondary Education. She has been teaching for 14 years, and though she has taught some English and Oral Communication Classes, most of her career has been geared toward theatre-focused classes.
“I was part of the first graduating class of theatre majors who were required to take the Praxis in preparation. So we were sort of guinea pigs for the program, and my senior capstone was a teaching project,” Mrs. Jackson explained. “With that under my belt, I went ahead and got my Education Master’s in ELA.
She is very proud that Troy was able to use her and her classmates to pilot the only Theatre Ed program in the state of Alabama.
“This is my love and my passion, and I cannot imagine teaching anything else,” she said lightheartedly. “I’d probably quit teaching altogether if they told me I had to teach anything else.”
Keeping her students motivated and engaged is something Mrs. Jackson strives for daily. She has found that the best way to do that is to offer several different types of assignments – including solo projects and team projects – that allow each student to find a place to shine.
“Different kids thrive in different environments, and I try to offer a variety of chances for them to work their best way,” said Mrs. Jackson. “As a director, I try to listen to my kids and allow them to explore and create meaningful characters. I give them guidance and direction but allow them freedom, too. I work out problems with them, not for them. I also like to put students in positions of ‘power’ by allowing them to direct, stage manage, and run the shows all themselves. I try to push them to figure things out independently and learn from experiences.”
Jessica Jackson is in her first year teaching at Daphne High School. She is married to her college sweetheart Ronnie, who is the Vice President of South Baldwin Community Theaters and her personal set designer. Together they have 2 boys, Gage (5) and Miles (3). When she has a little free time, Mrs. Jackson enjoys acting, cooking, gardening, reading and anything outdoors.