Can you tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name is Jennifer Cowart. I work at Franklin County Middle School. I am a teacher. I teach eighth-grade English in Franklin County, Mississippi, and this is my 25th year teaching.
Why did you start a career in education?
Why did I start teaching? Honestly, I had a child, um, and I know that I would need the same hours. However, I fell in love with the English language and teaching children how to look at words differently and how they all work together to help us understand what we're rating.
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
If I could have any other job, honestly, I don't know that there is another job that I want. I have four grandchildren. Um, I would love to be able to stay at home with them and, um, help their moms out, but I'm not ready to leave school yet. I have a specialist degree in administration, and I really honestly don't think that the Lord is ready to put me in an administrative job right now. And if his will for my life is that I never get to do that. Then that's fine too. I love what I'm doing. I love the people that I work with and I'm excited to start over fresh every year.
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
Well, I can tell you how the kids are different now than they were 25 years ago. When I first started, uh, the internet, the digital social media, it, um, is both a good thing and a bad. Um, when I first started teaching, we hand wrote our tests and made copies of them. We didn't even have computers in our classrooms.
How is Teaching different now than it was 30 years ago?
Next question, I think I answered a lot, this question like I did the last one. Um, the kids are different because they don't get outside anymore. They spend all their time watching TV and, um, their technology and teaching is different because of that same reason. These kids have shortened attention spans. We are having to teach with a lot more than we have in the past, because that is one of the only ways that we can keep them engaged.
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
If someone that I love or just really anybody asked me about going into a career in education, I would have to tell them it's a calling. It is a calling. I have four boys that range in age from 29 to 18. My youngest baby is a senior, and there've been a lot of harder years trying to make ends meet because I chose this path. But it's very rewarding. When you see that light bulb go off. When you see a child be successful for the first time, your paycheck doesn't matter. It's not a big deal. You just do what you have to do.
What would you change to help kids learn better?
The last question, one thing I would change to help kids learn better. Well, this has been an extraordinary year from last March to now. We've gone from hybrid to traditional to hybrid to traditional and thanks to the technology. We are able to somewhat keep our children learning daily. If there was something I would change, it would be to find a way to educate the parents so that they teach their children how important having a good education is. And then it's something that can never be taken away from me. I struggle daily with, am I doing the right thing? Should I be using this text? Should I have the children take this test on the computer? Would it make a difference? And, um, I think those are all questions that every educator across the nation is dealing with right now. I'm just very, very thankful that I am able to see my students in person when there are a lot of teachers throughout our country who haven't seen their kids since last March. Thank you for this opportunity.