Jackie Cope

First Grade Teacher | Red lick Elementary School

Jackie Cope and principle Debbie Cooper

“People never care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Dr. John C. Maxwell
This quote rings true for Jackie Cope, a first-grade teacher at Red Lick Elementary School. “Every year, I get attached to my class. In a sense, I adopt my students,” she says. Spending eight hours daily with students naturally leads an educator to feel this way. Cope genuinely believes that teaching is her calling and where she feels most at home. “Teaching is not my job; it’s my ministry,” she says.

Cope is celebrating her tenth year with Red Lick Independent School District. Her love for education began in the third grade and continuously grew with her father. She remarks, “I remember sitting in Mrs. Nance’s third-grade class daydreaming I was her. She was such a wonderful teacher!” That valuable third-grade teacher would love her students and encourage them to develop a desire to learn. This solidified Cope’s decision to become a teacher. Cope mentions, “Adding to my spark was my father, Dr. Harold Hatchett. He was an educator. His compassion toward his students and love of teaching confirmed my pursuing a career in education,” which is exactly what she did.

Cope’s first teaching job was at Fifteenth Street Elementary. She taught for three years there and then moved to Pleasant Grove Middle School for two years. “I paused my teaching life for 12 years. During that time, I married, moved to Ohio, and had two amazing children. After my husband’s passing, I moved back to my hometown,” Cope says. Soon after returning, she found herself drawn back into the teaching world. While in the throes of subbing for various campuses, she received a call from Red Lick Elementary’s principal, Debbie Cooper. She asked Cope to come for an interview for a first-grade position. “I did, and the rest is history!” says Cope.

Although Cope may teach lessons inside a schoolroom, she believes she receives the greatest rewards. “I am rewarded every day with the privilege of making a difference in the lives of my students. I have been taught to add value to others,” says Cope. She knows each classroom has different learning abilities and styles and diligently strives to help her students academically, emotionally, and socially. “My challenge is to find learning strategies to fit each student. My job is to create a safe, inviting environment where students desire to be and learn. I draw strength from my students. When they are happy, I am happy,” Cope says.

However, Cope cannot do this career alone and be successful. She is an effective teacher because of her co-workers, administrators, and parents. She states, “I am a people person. I like to build strong relationships with my students and their families. I like to have my parents involved in our school.” A solid team within Cope’s class and the school is “the key” to academic performance. Cope loves being a part of school events and strengthening the teacher-student-parent bond.

In Cope’s journey through her educational career, she has found that compassion and choosing the correct path is a must. “Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing. This is my life quote! I try my best to live by it,” says Cope. “You can learn a lot about yourself and others, which makes teaching a humbling experience.”

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