Why this matters: ASC recognizes that creative individuals and teachers enrich the cultural lives of everyone in our region and beyond through their work.
By Michael Solender
Ann Jacob views challenging students as a way for children to achieve possibilities beyond what they imagine for themselves.
A future filled with possibility and opportunity is what awaits Jacob’s students as their classroom is transformed daily into a dream factory where no challenge is too great and no possibility out of reach. For more than 30 years Jacob’s enthusiasm for instruction and opening up pathways for students to excel has translated into success.
“I’m always thinking about how I can make things exciting for the students,” says Jacob, New Town Elementary School teacher of gifted 4th and 5th graders. “I like to take what’s presented and make it a little bit more creative, a little bit more exciting for the kids.”
No wonder the distinguished educator proudly notes teaching is not just her profession, it’s her hobby.
“Teaching is the only profession I know that comes to a close every ten months and then starts all over again,” says Jacob, recognized as New Town Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. “My immediate thought at the end of the school year is, ‘Next year is going to be even better.’ I want to be the teacher that 20 or 30 years from now, students remember.”
Jacob has achieved a well earned reputation among peers, administrators, parents and students as an innovator who views core curriculum as merely a starting point for learning. “As a teacher, there is so much I can do beyond what is required,” said Jacob. “There is so much richness and depth I can add to students’ education. I know I can make a difference.”
Jacob’s influence is felt through her tireless work in pursuit of educational grants allowing for expanded programming such as her recently secured North Carolina Bright Ideas Grant from the Union Power Cooperative.
“My proposal was called ‘Lights, Camera, Action: Tragedies and Comedies of Ancient Greece,’” said Jacob. “My art background led me to choose a theme supporting the ancient Greece unit. We use art history to gain background knowledge and the students performed a play where they dressed in togas and student woven headdresses, arm bands and belts using the techniques of the ancients.”
Teaching and inspiring her students is the last thing Jacob thinks about before she goes to bed and the first thing on her mind when she awakens each day, even during the summer months when school is out of session.
“Teaching is the one profession that makes other professions possible,” said Jacob. “I want to get better every day.”