TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Jennifer Stewart uses the three big Cs 

Published 8:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

This article is part of a series by The Vicksburg Post, in partnership with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, featuring each of the nominees for teacher of the year honors. 

Jennifer Stewart, a Vicksburg Junior High School history teacher, uses the three big Cs in her classroom.

“One of the many strategies that I incorporate in my class is the big Cs, which are connection, communication and confidence, to promote real-world learning for my students,” Stewart said. 

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Stewart is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award. The chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon on Feb. 15. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union. 

Spending her career at Vicksburg Junior High School, Stewart worked as a Teacher’s Aide for four years, a Record Clerk for three years and an Administrative Secretary for two years. She’s been teaching for three years.

Stewart received a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology from Belhaven University. She then obtained a master’s degree in secondary education from Alcorn State University. 

Communication, connection and confidence are three attributes that help Stewart’s students stay engaged and achieve their goals.

“Communication is a key element in my classroom before beginning a lesson just to express what they know about the topic and how they are feeling today,” she said.

Next, she builds connections with her students, to help them know someone cares about their wellbeing and education. Connection also applies to the students exploring more about the topic and building a better understanding.

“Confidence is when students ask questions about the lesson and how it relates to and is used in the real world,” Stewart said. 

Another example of how she uses the big Cs strategy in her teaching is her lesson on Early Mississippi politics, specifically the Antebellum period.

“Most of my students deal with issues that are totally out of their control. This unit allows them to be themselves and speak about the changes they would like to see in their environment or our schools as we make connections with real-life situations,” Stewart said.

She explained in her application that tries to understand each student’s background to help the grow.

“My students come from many different backgrounds and my main job is to meet each one of my students where they are,” she said.