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Enjoy Magazine

Teacher Spotlight: Jacque D'Amato and Connie Jarrett

10/01/2006 01:56PM ● By Brandi Barnett
By Sophia Zaniroli

Jacque D’Amato, Pacheco School

After speaking with Jacque D’Amato, a 7th grade science and language arts teacher at Pacheco
School, I realized that summer vacation may be a myth for most teachers. First, there are domestic projects — cleaning and fixing up the house. There are children that need attending — swim lessons, camps, summer school. There is also continuing education. During the summer, many educators teach summer school, take classes and work on curriculum for the next year.

D’Amato is a Redding native. Her husband, Vince, was also born in Redding along with their two
children, Ben and Carmel. They enjoy Northern California — the community and outdoor recreation. She attended California State University, Chico and received her teaching credential in 1977. After student-teaching in the Redding School District, she interviewed with Pacheco School District in 1978nand has been teaching there ever since.

To D’Amato, teaching is a rewarding career. She says that students and their families make teaching worthwhile. “Since teaching at Pacheco School for so many years, it is fulVlling to have touched so many lives and become part of their learning experience.” D’Amato has even experienced the occasional student who is a child of one of her former students. When asked about the best and worst parts of being a teacher, D’Amato said, “The time in the classroom is the most enjoyable. However, the long nights of homework can become tiresome.”

Jacque knows that success in the classroom doesn’t come only through her teaching. Parents and students play a vital role in ensuring this success. The support that parents give to their child’s education is important. “Keeping in touch with the teacher and sending their child to school rested and healthy are top priorities.”

This summer, she helped her daughter as she got ready for college, spent time with her husband and mother, visited with her grandchildren, taught a short summer school session, took a science class, improved her lessons for this year, and prepared to get her masters degree. “Teaching is a continuous learning process; I will always be a student as well as an instructor. Learning is part of my job.”

Connie Jarrett, Redding Christian School

It all began after several mission trips to Mexico. During these trips, Connie Jarrett enjoyed sharing the gospel with the people of the villages and came back with a strong desire to serve God and others in the same way. That desire has led Mrs. Jarrett to become, as a former student said, “a teacher full of discipline, grace and compassion.”

Mrs. Jarrett has been teaching in Redding for 25 years. She and her husband, Tom, have three children and a new granddaughter. She enjoys reading and gardening. She also loves children – and this is evident in her classroom. Dealing with 25 personalities can be challenging at times, but Mrs. Jarrett makes sure that everyone in her class has the opportunity to learn, regardless of their learning style. It is important to her that everyone moves in the same direction .“You can’t teach if no one is paying attention. You can’t really get your curriculum across if people are being distracted. It is a continuous challenge to have good, positive, loving discipline and teach your subject at the same time.”

Mrs. Jarrett may do the teaching, but the students and parents are an integral part of both the teaching and the learning process. Parents help at school and at home. They help in big ways in the classroom as aides or tutors. They drive for Veld trips. They work on the playground and in the lunchroom. At home, parents take part in the continuation of the learning process. They help with homework by checking it and giving input when needed. They are also “prayer warriors” for their child, their child’s teacher, their classmates, and for the school in general. “This really makes a difference in the success of their children and of our school,” Mrs. Jarrett said. “All of this helps me as a teacher. I have confidence that the parents will encourage their children. They always encourage me as a teacher which makes my job a little easier.”

Mrs. Jarrett tells her students that school is their job, just like their parents have jobs. They should come to school ready to learn, to work, and to play. When asked if she had any words of wisdom on how to be a successful teacher, Mrs. Jarrett said, “Give yourself grace when you make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to apologize to your students when you need to. Forgive yourself and forgive your students. Remember they are still growing and learning.”