Science Hill freshman honors biology teacher Jackie Smith uses her energy in the classroom to try and help students fall in love with science.
Note: This is the first of three installments over the next three weeks to honor the three teachers that were named Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year for the elementary, middle and high school levels. Science Hill freshman biology teacher Jackie Smith is our high school level Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year. Our 6-8 grade level winner is Indian Trail teacher Misty Davis. The elementary level PK-4 is South Side kindergarten teacher Jamie Mains. They will be honored at our Board of Education meeting on Monday, February 5.
Love of science, students perfect combo for Science Hill Teacher of the Year
One step into Jackie Smith’s 9th grade honors biology class at Science Hill High School and you will see that Smith is in her element. One conversation and you will see why she was selected as Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year at the high school level.
“I absolutely love teaching,” Smith said through a glaring smile. “One of the reasons I went into teaching was to get kids excited about science again.”
Smith is in her fourth year of teaching at Science Hill, after spending a decade in the classroom in Harford County, Maryland and she said that she feels right at home teaching her students about science at Science Hill.
Smith also serves as Science Hill science department chairperson and the district science content leader at the high school level. But those aren't the things that excite Smith about teaching, it's being in the classroom.
“As long as I can get students excited and get them hands on and loving science again, especially at the high school level, that is what I love to do,” Smith said.
Being named one of three winners of the Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year award – along with Indian Trail's Misty David (grades 5-8) and South Side kindergarten teacher Jamie Milhorn (PreK-4) - let's Smith know that she is on the right path.
“It is an extreme honor to win teacher of the year for Science Hill High School,” Smith said.
The passion that Smith has for her craft bursts through whenever she is in front of the classroom, as she teaches with an energy that she hopes makes her students eager about learning.
“I think one of the reasons why I keep the energy level that I do is because of the students,” Smith said. “I absolutely love teaching and I love my students. And I want to make sure that every day is fun and exciting for them and it can’t be fun and exciting unless I am excited to teach it.”
Smith said that by making her lessons relevant to her student’s lives that she hopes to rekindle their love of science.
“A lot of times, at this age, students are getting turned off from school," Smith said. "So making it relevant and helping them make connections to what they deal with in their everyday lives is a way that I try to help them get that love back for school, that they use to have when they were younger.”