Meet Michigan Teacher of the Year Candice Jackson

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August 8, 2023

Candice Jackson is a third-grade teacher at Mann Learning Community in Detroit Public Schools Community District. She’ll be writing a monthly blog for us starting in September, along with guest posts by the other Michigan Regional Teachers of the Year.

But first, she was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

What is your teaching experience?

I began working for the Detroit Public Schools Community District in 2002. I have taught everything from first to fifth grade. I have been at Mann Learning Community since 2017, where I double-duty as an instructional coach and a third-grade teacher. Teaching in an urban area has been a uniquely rewarding experience. I want to profoundly impact the lives of the many students I serve and the community.

What is your mission/platform as Michigan Teacher of the Year?
  • Parent and Family Engagement: Parental engagement significantly impacts a child’s overall academic success and well-being. When parents and teachers work together, students benefit from a comprehensive and supportive educational experience.
  • Climate and Culture: Creating a positive school environment shapes the experience of the students, teachers and staff. By prioritizing climate and culture, schools can foster nurturing, supportive and enriching experiences for everyone.
What is the biggest change in your classroom from when you first started teaching?

RAPID ADVANCEMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY!!!! Overhead projectors and blackboards have been replaced with interactive SMART boards and one-to-one technology. Worksheets and scantrons were replaced with digital resources and e-learning. In addition, the Internet has transformed how my students conduct research, access online resources, communicate with peers and experts, and participate in virtual experiences.

What are the most important things that your students have taught you?

My students have taught me about resilience, especially post-pandemic. Children can adapt to adversity, embrace curiosity, seek support, maintain a growth mindset and find joy during challenges.

What is your favorite story/event from teaching?

My favorite moments are moments when my students have victories (big or small). I work hard to instill in my students a love of learning and personal growth. I go the extra mile to make learning fun and accessible to all students.

So, when my students have victories, I can see my legacy in action.

Who would play you in the Oscar-bait inspirational movie about your class, and what would the movie be called?

The first person who comes to mind is Quinta Brunson. She is the writer, producer, actress and comedian who created the hit television show “Abbott Elementary.” Although I am not a novice teacher, I can relate to the main character’s optimistic, tenacious, yet sometimes naïve approach to education and life. If I had to give my movie a title, it would be called “Invest(ED).” It would be a drama about a passionate and unconventional teacher deeply committed to the children and community she serves.

What are your words of advice for teachers (rookies or veterans)?

Here are a few pieces of advice I would give both new teachers embarking on their journey and veteran teachers.
  • Be Weird: Be different, be funny and be memorable. Embracing your uniqueness will allow your students to be authentic and create an environment of trust and openness.
  • Create Inclusive Spaces: All teachers can actively promote inclusivity by recognizing and appreciating individuality, amplifying marginalized voices and dismantling barriers to equality.
  • Find a Good Mentor: A good mentor teacher can provide helpful guidance and support by sharing advice and sharing their expertise. They can also serve as a role model for a new teacher to develop a clear vision of effective education.
  • Keep an Open Mindset: Having an open mindset promotes growth, innovation, adaptability, collaboration and student-centered approaches. Educators who embrace open mindsets create meaningful and transformative learning experiences for their students.