Langford Community Academy Teacher Draws Upon Her Englewood Roots
10 May 2023
Ms. Mason has loved school since the minute she started pre-k.
One of the most impactful people in shaping Ms. Jessica Mason’s career was a CPS teacher she had in both sixth and eighth grade—Mr. Allen M. Mosley. When she graduated college, he had become the principal of the school she attended, and he reached out to her. While she finished getting her teaching certification, she substituted at her former school to officially kick off her career in education.
Her former principal eventually retired and took on a consulting role with another CPS elementary school. This school year, while she was on a field trip with her Langford Community Academy students, she saw him at the Museum of Science and Industry. She describes the opportunity to introduce him to her students as an awesome, full-circle moment that reminded her why being an educator is so special.
“It was so cool for my former principal to see what I’m doing as a teacher because he helped prepare me,” she said. “And now I’m preparing others. I think about a student I had in first grade who is currently in college. To see him in college doing so well makes me so happy.”
Ms. Mason loved school and her teachers from the minute she started pre-k. She recalls a day when pre-k students had the day off while students in other grades had to attend school. Even though she should have been excited to stay home, she still wanted to go to school and be with her teachers.
Now, as a teacher herself, she tries to create a learning environment that her second-grade students want to be a part of every day. She believes her students would describe her as funny and caring, yet stern when needed. She loves teaching reading and has found that a great way to engage her students is by giving them the opportunity to act out the books they read, such as The Three Little Pigs. All of them want to be The Big Bad Wolf.
Her favorite unit to teach in math is measurement. And she also enjoys teaching writing, giving students an opportunity to use their imaginations to come up with stories and then share those stories with each other.
“As a teacher, it takes time to perfect your craft because you learn new things each year since you have a different class each year, and they are not all going to be the same,” she said. “It’s important not to overwhelm yourself, and I recommend leaning on your colleagues and doing as much professional development as you can.”
Ms. Mason’s latest professional development opportunity is sending her to Yale University as a Yale National Fellow. Her work will focus on a math unit centered on teaching fractions. Since she struggled with math growing up, she sees this as a way to challenge herself and also support her students who don’t believe they are good at math, just as she felt many years ago.
“I want to be a role model for my students and show them that the sky is the limit,” she said. “Since I’m from Englewood and now have come back to work in Englewood, I want them to see that good things do come from Englewood.”
She is especially excited to connect with other teachers from across the country that are also participating in this program. She knows that she will have the opportunity to develop additional best practices for teaching that she may have not considered before, all with the goal of bringing what she learned back to her students to help them reach their full potential.
This experience is just the latest highlight of Ms. Mason’s impressive career as a teacher.
“I see my career as an adventure. Growing up in Englewood, I met awesome people, gained so much knowledge, and even had the chance to travel,” she said. “I came back to CPS to make a difference. I want to be an example for my family, my students, my teachers—everyone.”
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