Schwartz: Teaching is my ‘destiny’

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Amy Schwartz thought she was going to become a nurse when she was younger, but her first job out of high school working with children changed her career path forever.

“I just fell in love with children and teaching and learning,” she said. “I just don’t see myself doing anything else. It’s like my destiny.”

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Schwartz, a Vicksburg native, is a seventh grade literature, reading information and writing teacher at Vicksburg Junior High School. This is her eighth year in the school district; she spent the first three years teaching art at Warren Central Intermediate School to third through sixth grade students.

“They needed an art teacher so I was placed there. That was the first job they had available so I started with art, and it was a passion,” Schwartz said, adding she continues to incorporate art into her English classes now in addition to the typical curriculum. “When I first came to the junior high I was a history teacher.”

Current events are also discussed in her class and included in the student’s assignments. Right now the English class is focusing on the presidential election. Talking about the hottest topics in current news keeps the students interested and willing to speak up in class about their opinions and thoughts, she said.

“We try to put the real world into their writing,” she said. “We’re doing a lot with the election. They are big on the candidates for the upcoming presidential election.”

Each day she teaches six class periods a day averaging about 25 students in each class. Schwartz said the class spends a lot of time working on creative writing and often writes poetry, plays and narratives.

“My favorite part is seeing students grow. A lot of times they get irritated just thinking of something they can’t do. It’s like a puzzle. It just comes together. Sometimes they can’t believe how fast they are able to learn and do things,” Schwartz said.

She is enjoying the integration of technology into the classroom with the set of Chromebooks the students use in class for testing and learning. Friday the students were taking accelerated reader tests on the laptops. Schwartz said the school district is able to communicate better with the use of technology in the classroom.

“The district can see how students are doing online. A lot of communication is going on in the district as far as how students are doing and improving. Technology is big,” she said.

Before Schwartz graduated from Alcorn State University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in counseling, she spent 10 years directing a daycare. Her career started after she graduated from Warren Central High School in 2000 when she got her first job working at a daycare.

Schwartz’s husband is a physical education teacher and the basketball coach at Warren Central Junior High. Schwartz has two children who attend Warren Central High School — a son who is a senior football player and a daughter who is a sophomore cheerleader.