Teacher Spotlight – Jacky Dickerson
Say hello to Jacky Dickerson, who grew up on Long Island in New York and came to Florida to attend Eckerd College. She has been teaching for 15 years – all of them at Center Academy in Pinellas Park. Jacky has taught almost all subjects at all grade levels over the years, but predominantly middle school math and sciences.
Jacky began as an Aide at Center Academy and taught a few small classes, but mainly helped to grade, file and work one-on-one with younger students. “I loved the way that each child had his own needs met through the curriculum,” she said. “Working with the students so closely, I really began to appreciate the different ways that they learned and processed information. They each had unique gifts and abilities, and could accomplish things that I could never dream,” she continued. “And for the first time, it was clear that students who learned differently did not have disabilities – they had different abilities,” she told us.
Jacky loves having the freedom to teach the mandated state standards in different ways. “Learning does not have to happen with a teacher standing in front of a classroom lecturing and giving notes,” she told us. “Learning happens through discovery, working in groups, engaging in hands-on activities, and playing academic games, among others. For example, students can use manipulatives to compare ½ and ¼, or students can play ‘Rational Numbers Math War’ so they can compare the size of different fractions and decimals without having to do the traditional pencil and paper practice.”
“Every day that I have spent at Center Academy has been different. There is never a boring day or one where I go home and say that nothing exciting happened in school. The students constantly make me laugh, and I go home knowing something more than I did the day before – taught to me by the students.”
Jacky said the secret to her success is “to work hard, always do my best, and no matter how tired or stressed I might be, I try and remember that what I’m doing is not for me, but for the benefit of the students. I try to live up to the same expectations that I have for my students.”
Jacky has been married for eight years, and together they have three “furkids” – two big, fluffy dogs and one cat. If you like to cook, you might want to compare notes with Jacky! She loves being in the kitchen and creating new recipes. She does it by getting inspired with meals at restaurants. In her free time, you’ll find her gardening, kayaking, enjoying the Florida sun, or watching a few Reality TV Shows. Shhhhh. That’s a secret!
Congratulations, Ms. Dickerson, for your sincere contributions to Center Academy, and thank you for sharing a little about yourself in this month’s Teacher Spotlight!