Jessica Alderman

2023-24 Teacher of the Year: D.A. Harrison Elementary
Question-Answer Session
AldermanJessica Alderman

How Long Have You Been Part of the PGCPS Family?

I have been part of the PGCPS family for 5 years. I taught 5th grade for 2 years and I am currently a 2nd grade teacher in the inclusion classroom. My students are my passion and my classroom is my home away from home. 


Please Share Your Thoughts on Being Named Teacher of the Year & What This Recognition Means to You.

Being named Teacher of the Year is such an honor. This is an honor that I share with all my fellow teachers and coworkers at Harrison.  What we do is really a team effort. I am successful because of the amazing teachers and staff that I get to work with on a daily basis.


Although I wish I could take credit for this title, it would not have been possible without God leading me to this career choice and giving me the opportunity to make a difference  in the lives of my students as well as my coworkers. This recognition represents a strengthened sense of excellence and collaboration within teaching. I am constantly working to be the best version of myself everyday.


If I can first change myself to be better, then I hope I have a chance at inspiring greatness in others. 


What Inspired You to Enter the World of Teaching and Education?

As a young girl I always enjoyed playing school in my bedroom. I was the girl who would tape paper to her closet door as if it were a chalkboard. I taught my stuffed animals as if they were a classroom full of children. I knew from an early age that whatever I chose as a career path would involve kids.


After graduating high school, I followed the path to become a pediatrician. That quickly changed after I got into college and realized how long that journey would be. I  also quickly realized that I would not survive emotionally in the medical field when it came to children. While in college I started working in a day care setting that had a Pre-K classroom. I immediately fell in love. I called my parents and told them I was changing career paths. My dad’s response was “you do realize you won't make much money in that profession right?” My decision has never been about the money, it has been about making a difference in childrens’ lives and fulfilling my purpose in this life. We are all created to serve a purpose while here on earth.


I truly believe my purpose is in the classroom! 


Do You Have A Special Memory or Moment from This School Year You Would Like to Share?

I would have to say that my students will forever and always be my special memories from each year.
However, one moment that comes to mind this school year would be the Harrison Harvest Festival. I have served on the Family Engagement committee for three years now. Last year, I served as co-chair and this year I took the lead. Anyone who has put on a function this big knows that preparing for an event like this is no easy task. However, I knew I wanted it to be an evening where families could come into the school and really truly just be in the moment with their children.
Even if that meant we had to sacrifice our time to make it happen. As teachers we always want our parents to be engaged with their children. This was a great opportunity to provide that for our students and their families. After the doors opened that night I paced the halls frantically to make sure everything was going smoothly and our teachers had everything they needed.
As I moved through the halls I stopped for a moment to take it all in. The feeling I felt in that moment was pure joy. It felt amazing to see everyone interacting, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. I felt so thankful to be able to witness these relationships but even more blessed to have a hand in making it all happen.
That night I saw a school family create a night of memories for their students and families that they will remember for years to come


Finally, What Do You Consider the Most Important Lesson You Help Students Learn?

This is a hard question to answer. There are many days that I feel I teach more life lessons than I do academic lessons. I would say the most important lesson I help my students learn is kindness. I know this sounds kind of cliché however we live in a society where the focus is oneself above everything else. Somewhere along the way we have lost putting others above ourselves.


The way I see it is if I can teach my class of 20 students to just be nice to others then when those 20 students become adults the world then has 20 more kind people in it.