Camille Jones: Do Something Hard, on Purpose, Every Single Day

Washington state’s 2017 Teacher of the Year has the same advice for students as she does for teachers: “do something hard, on purpose, every single day.”

Camille Jones teaches kindergarten through third grade enrichment at Pioneer Elementary in Quincy, Washington, where she tells her students every day they need to have grit, never give up and take on new challenges.

“Being gritty in school is important because if you quit, you won’t reach your goal,” said Jaelynn Larissa Felix, a 3rd grade student at Pioneer Elementary.

Marco Landazuri, a 2nd grade student agrees with Jaelynn and said, “As long as you don’t give up there’s always a way.”

Jones teaches STEAM — or science, technology, engineering, art and math — at Pioneer Elementary, where she focuses every day on finding and building on students’ strengths and challenging them beyond what they think they’re capable of achieving.

“The main goal of what I’m trying to do is give students an education that’s relevant to them and the world around us,” said Jones. “I need to teach them how to think critically, be creative, work together as a team and communicate well with others. I use STEAM to get at all of that, the relevance and the skills of the 21st century.”

Jones says one of the great joys she has as a teacher is when a student says they want to be an engineer or chemist.

“For a young child – and most of our students here are English language learners – to understand that’s a possibility within their reach is everything,” said Jones. “I love seeing that light in their eyes.”

Jones is excited for the opportunity to be 2017 Washington State Teacher of the Year and is proud to share her story, experiences, and what’s worked in Quincy.

“As teachers, students are depending on us to embrace those new changes in the world and make those same changes in our teaching practice to continue to keep their education relevant to them,” said Jones.