Being an educator is one of the most noble occupations around. The job is not only an important one but a difficult one. Thus, in order to be successful at it, you have to dedicate your life to it.
Dr. Marcus Jackson is an educator and administrator who has helped with student performance and social development at schools in cities such as Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Jackson is currently working in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He firmly believes in the power of education and is motivated and inspired to do his job every single day. He outlines his personal journey to becoming an educator, including the experience that changed his life forever and what’s next for his education career.
According to Dr. Marcus Jackson, his first job after graduating from university was with the City of Atlanta, Georgia. At this job, it was his responsibility to design and coordinate programs for at-promise youth (Dr. Jackson has never liked or used the term “at-risk youth”). These programs took place after school and supported between 200 and 300 students between the ages of 6 and 14. The majority of the programs took place at the local recreation center and ranged from tutoring and computer technology to football, ballet, swimming, sewing, cheerleading, and arts and crafts. In addition to his role as a coordinator for the City of Atlanta, he worked as a youth football coach for the 8U team. It was actually while coaching football that Dr. Jackson had his first adult encounter with a teacher. The meeting was to help one of the players on Dr. Jackson’s team. The quarterback was DeMarquez (DeMarquez was also a tutorial assistant for kindergarten students at one of the after-school programs Dr. Jackson ran). The quarterback’s mother had approached Dr. Jackson and explained that her son was failing his classes, so she wanted to take him off the team. Dr. Jackson obliged and asked for permission to meet with her son’s teacher to work together to help him succeed.
The next day, Dr. Marcus Jackson met with his teacher, Mrs. Green. Mrs. Green told him that DeMarquez was a very capable student if he applied himself, put in more effort, listened to her, and paid attention in class. But ultimately, the conversation ended with Mrs. Green telling Dr. Jackson that the kids in her class weren’t going to be anything in life, even going so far as to suggest that, “The girls will be pregnant before they’re 16 and most of the boys will be dead or in prison before the age of 21.” This moment shook Dr. Jackson to his core. As soon as he left the school that day, he enrolled in summer school at Georgia State University to get his elementary education certification.
Dr. Marcus Jackson’s Career as an Educator
Dr. Marcus Jackson’s experience with Mrs. Green certainly rubbed him the wrong way. He knew that the best way to make a difference in the education system was to become a teacher himself. He aspired to have his own classroom to ensure that every student under his supervision received a world-class education. Even more than that, he wanted to create a safe space for students, where they knew that they would be treated with respect, inspired each and every day, and encouraged them to relentlessly pursue their dreams, no matter what they were. Ultimately, Dr. Marcus Jackson wanted to become an educator to teach students that education is a path to a better life.
Two years after that experience, Dr. Jackson became a certified teacher. After just three years of teaching, he was awarded Teacher of the Year at his school and was a finalist for the entire district. After five years of teaching, he was promoted to the assistant principal position, became a principal (at all levels), and now serves as zone director of curriculum and instruction. He is responsible for over 5,000 students at 14 schools.
In terms of what’s next for the educator, Dr. Marcus Jackson is working on a series of books. The first has already been published and is a best seller called 10 Daily Essentials for Principals. His follow-up book, 10 Daily Essentials for Assistant Principals, is set to be released next month and will be part of an entire series that is scheduled to be released before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.