BHS 21’ - 22’ Teacher of the Year Winner Erica Jackson on Finding Magic Beyond Fear

In the run up to the announcement of BCSD's 22'-23' Teacher of the Year, we spoke to our 21'-22' year winners about their commitment to teaching and what makes Baldwin School District stand out. This blog series highlights those incredible teachers and what they do to make a difference.

For Erica Jackson, teaching is in her blood. Her ancestors founded one of the first Black schools in Little Rock, and her aunt and grandmother both owned daycares where she volunteered as a young girl. So teaching has been a generational endeavor for Jackson and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

As a graduate of Georgia College and State University's English Literature program, Jackson understands the importance of relatability when speaking to her ninth grade English students. “A lot of our kids don’t feel like teachers relate to them on an academic or social level,” she said, “I think that’s one of the reasons I love teaching ninth grade lit. You can have a vast world of what you can pull from for them to read. Different authors from different places and different genders give them a world outside of Milledgeville.”

“The first time we read or the first time that we have a discussion, they don’t want to do it, but once they get beyond that fear, the magic comes in and they realize, ‘okay, I can do this’”

This was of particular importance during the Covid shutdown, when many students were isolated from one another and from the outside world. “During Covid, I feel like a lot of kids didn’t get that necessary escape that they needed when they came to school,” Jackson said that many students are still feeling the aftereffects of that period now, and this has led to a critical need for teaching students self-care. “My grandmother used to always tell me, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’,” Jackson said, “at some point, we have to look past standardized test scores and look at the individual as a whole.”