Creach named MMS Teacher of the Year
For Mustang Middle School’s Teacher of the Year, Jessica Creach, a lab full of middle schoolers with beakers of chemicals and a heat source is her favorite part of teaching. Creach has been teaching science for 10 years, all of them at MMS.
“I absolutely love to see them experiment and come up with their own ideas and answer their own questions instead of having it hand fed to them all the time,” she said. “Lab days are my absolute favorite. A chemistry lab is probably my favorite brand of science. They get to heat up six chemicals and see what happens. Watching them go from disappointment when one doesn't do anything to excitement when one does is so much fun.”
Creach was in her second year of college when she chose to enter education. She thought of one of her high school English teachers, where every day seemed to be a joy, never a job.
“I knew I liked science and wanted to do something that I would be happy doing every day,” she said. “After analyzing my life and my experiences, I felt like this was where I needed to be.”
She didn’t consider elementary - a room full of young kids was daunting - and high school wasn’t for her either.
“They’re grown up,” she said. “In middle school, they’re still somewhere between little kids but not quite grownups so I feel I can make a bigger impact on them because they haven’t quite decided who they are yet.”
She remembers one student from her second year of teaching who had decided school wasn’t for him. He spent many days in in-school suspension.
“He was a tough one,” she said. “He was one you worried wouldn’t quite graduate but he did so good with me. I spent so much time talking to him and making little jokes and trying to get to know him. He came in with a troublemaker reputation, but I tried not to treat him like that. Ever since he left I always wondered what happened to him.”
Last year, he showed up at her door. He did graduate.
“Just that he remembered me for eight years and came back and saw me,” she said. “He was so grown up. It meant so much to me.”
In order to absorb a science teaching position at Mustang Middle School, Creach is one of a few teachers who has a class every hour of the day. Her class load went from 150 students to 170 for the second semester. She gets to school an hour early and stays later.
“It’s definitely what’s good for the kids,” she said.
It may be exhausting, but there are those rewards like the Pangea lab. Students have been studying about the world when it was believed to have been one super continent. They’ve talked about the continental drift theory and had to come up with their own ideas for what the world would look like in 100 million years. A decade into teaching and she still loves seeing what ideas each one comes up with.
“I still think the same thing - I love it here. It's different every day,” she said. “The kids are never the same day-to-day and they keep it interesting and lively and fun.”
Creach is one of 14 Teachers of the Year for Mustang Public Schools. The District Teacher of the Year will be announced at a special banquet on March 28.