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DCL’s Teacher of the Month: Jill England, Hillcrest High School Featured

While Jill England has been recognized as a teacher of the year at two different schools, the titles aren’t her biggest accomplishments.   

 

“I would say my biggest accomplishment is the compliments I get from my students. I love to hear them say ‘Math is my favorite class,’ or ‘I’ve never done this well in math before,’” she said. “I know for some of them they have struggled or hated math in the past, so to turn that around is a major win for me. I often have students come back from college and tell me how great they are doing in their math classes and that they were so ready for it. I know I am doing something right if they are leaving me totally prepared for the next step.”  

DCL's teacher of the month is Jill England.

An Algebra I, II and Pre-Calculus teacher, England has been teaching for almost 25 years. She received a bachelor’s degree in secondary math education, and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Tennessee Tech University. She also has an Educational Specialist degree in school leadership from Lincoln Memorial University.  

“Great leaders have to be great listeners, they have to be fair, and they have to make sure people feel appreciated for what they are contributing,” she said. “I think most people want to feel like they have a voice. They may not always get what they want but they want to be able to bring their ideas or concerns up and feel like their leader at least hears them and considers their ideas. No one can be great at everything, so listening to the ideas of your team is very important. Everyone wants to feel like they are appreciated. The best leaders find a way to make everyone feel like they have something unique to contribute and are essential to the team.”  

England has lived in Tuscaloosa for four years, teaching at Hillcrest High School. Due to her husband’s job, she has traveled from Tennessee to Texas to even Canada. She’s been a new teacher several times, and said new teachers shouldn’t try to do it all themselves.   

An avid decorator and traveler, England said she would either be an interior decorator or a travel agent if she wasn’t a teacher. She also said she wish people knew how much teachers care about their students.   

“Our students are on our minds long after they leave for the day. We can’t just turn that off at the end of the day,” she said. “We spend hours making great lessons that are engaging for students to make sure our students have a chance at really understanding the material. After the lesson we spend time reflecting on the parts that went well, what needs to be revamped, what do we need to do to help the student that didn’t quite get it, and what can we do to challenge the student that is ready for more. We wonder if we gave it our best that day. Did we make a connection with every student?  Did every student get what they needed today? There is so much focus today on the negatives in education. I just wish more people realized how much teachers care about doing what’s best for kids.”  

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