Jessica Gibbons had initially planned to teach college students. Then things changed.
“I just fell in love with high school teaching, and I’m still here,” says Gibbons, who teaches dual credit/Advanced Placement English and literature at Winterset Senior High School.
She recently completed her second year at the school and has been teaching a total of 11 years, the majority of which have been high schoolers.
Gibbons says while there is a lot of negative coverage out there about teens and this generation, her experience has been to the contrary. She’s seen many good young people who are destined to do great things. That’s part of the reason why she continues to teach.
“It’s just inspiring,” she says.
She’s had the opportunity to make personal connections with her students, seeing them before and after school and out in the community. It’s been a pleasant surprise for Gibbons, who was unsure about how well she’d get to know students, given Winterset High School’s bigger size in comparison to the previous school she was at, she says.
Becoming an English teacher was a good fit for Gibbons, personally and professionally.
“I really like reading and thinking about things from different points of view,” she says. “My favorite thing to do is learn.”
She also loves her students and watching them learn.
Sometimes they teach her. She’s read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in class for 13 years, Gibbons says, but will still hear something new from a student whenever they discuss the book.
One of the most significant changes she’s seen during the years is the impact of technology on education. This past school year was the first where students in grades seventh through 12th each had a laptop, Gibbons says.
“It really leveled the playing field,” she says, creating computer access for all students.
Gibbons is a big fan of technology, and says it teaches students how to be adaptable, multitask and how to make choices.
“Technology — it’s just incredible,” she says.