Tell the HTA Ohana a little bit about yourself, Jessica: I was born and raised on the North Shore of O`ahu and currently live in Kahuku. In my free time I enjoy going to the beach, yoga, running, volunteering with community service projects and serving on several community boards. I also spend time working with my husband, Hilton, who is a professional artist, raising my son Deco, and playing with my dog Kia.
Can you share a bit about your academic background? I received my B.A. in Political Science and a Women's Studies Certificate from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and my M.A. in Secondary Social Studies from the University of Phoenix. It was through my master’s program at the University of Phoenix where I was first introduced to blended learning and educational technology. I taught all of the History subjects at Kalaheo High School before joining HTA in 2012. Prior to teaching at Kalaheo from 2008 to 2012, I was a Substitute Teacher at various public high and middle schools here on O`ahu for several years. I am N.C.L.B. Highly Qualified in Social Studies and a Google Certified Educator for Levels I and II. I am especially grateful for the years of experience I have teaching at HTA, which have provided me with some of the most enriching and “game changing” professional development experiences I’ve ever had.
What made you interested in teaching?I only knew that I wanted to make a positive difference in the world growing up and, after dabbling in teaching as a substitute teacher, I knew that this was my path towards doing so.
What is your first memory associated with teaching? I remember the first time I stepped into a classroom as a substitute teacher for a Special Education Art class. I was not provided with a lesson plan, so I came up with one that had students express emotion through artistic expression. I got the impression that that was exactly what some of them needed in their lives at that moment. Seeing the small impact that one unscripted lesson had on the students got me hooked on teaching.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about being a teacher? The most challenging thing about teaching is never being/feeling completely satisfied or done. The most rewarding thing is working with the students. They make all of the hard work worth it.
Song? Upside Down - Jack Johnson
Book? Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
Travel Destination? Brazil
Quote? “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - Nelson Mandela
If you were to summarize “YOU” in only one sentence, what would that sentence be? My heart smiles when people show kindness, love and compassion towards other living beings and the earth, and I feel the weight on my shoulders when they do not.