Jacob Hunt started his teaching journey after training to become a state park ranger. For this edition of #RutherfordFaces, Jacob discusses his decision to pursue teaching, and why connecting with students is so important.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
A: I’ve been a teacher for a couple months now, started in January. This will be my first full year being a full-time teacher. I went to Tennessee Tech for four years for wildlife and fisheries. My goal was to be a park ranger – I started my internship with the State Park system that was on a job pathway. As I was working my junior summer, I realized how much I just enjoyed talking to people and teaching them.
Q: What is unique about the students at Christiana?
A: I really enjoy being able to connect science in the real world to what we’re learning now, and to what kids want to do. For example, you could be a vet tech or a park ranger. I want to have more professionals come in and talk to kids about what they do. What I really like about the students at Christiana is it’s great to see them wonder – they have intriguing questions I would never think about. So, they still have a strong imagination, but they are also great at asking wonderful questions that spark conversation. For example – what causes the dew on the grass? Condensation on windows? It’s what I love about teaching. Kids are hungry to know.
Q: What is most important about working with your students?
A: My big goal is to have a good connection with kids. I want them to know I am their teacher, but they can talk to me, if need be, and I help them. I think in Rutherford County, kids hopefully trust their teachers to be good teachers, but also to be good people – because kids they’re trying to figure out themselves and what’s going on. Last year I had a kid ask me what he should do for his girlfriend for their anniversary. That’s kind of silly. But I told him give her some flowers. They’re really, really just good kids. What I tell myself, even after a hard day, is that it was a good day because I can look at everything that happened and always find something good. I’ve had long hours, but I love it. At the State Park when I worked there, I would have a kid for maybe 20 minutes and never see them again … here I get the chance to build that relationship. Whereas at the State Park it’s all about the first impression.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: When I was a kid, I went to Gettysburg, and they had a cool national park ranger there. He knew everything, answered all my questions. So, I asked him what he did before he came here. Apparently, he retired, and this is what he started to do. When I am eventually finished with education, I think I could do the same thing. Become a non-commissioned National Park Ranger. You just teach. Also, I absolutely love fishing. That’s my hobby. Fishing and the outdoors. For fall break I’ll be camping with my wife in Chattanooga, and I am pumped. But fishing is my passion and I tell kids that all the time. I’d love to start a fishing team or fishing club here at Christiana. I also love science fiction novels. Jurassic Park and Back to the Future are two of my favorite movies.