Barrington has a hero in the classroom
Grove School teacher Michelle Jackson shows off her new Chicago Bears jersey Sept. 20 after she was surprised by the Bears and Symetra with the Heroes in the Classroom award. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 6:45AM
BARRINGTON — Michelle Jackson, a fourth-grade teacher at Grove Avenue Elementary School, was honored recently for her excellence in teaching with a surprise visit from the Chicago Bears.
The Bears representative charged into her Barrington classroom to present her with a check, a gift card, and free tickets to a Bears game.
“It was a complete surprise,” Jackson said. “I had no idea.”
Jackson, who is in her eighth year at Grove, said she decided to become a teacher in high school when she was teaching music lessons to children.
“I’ve just always loved working with kids,” she said.
Last December, Grove principal Cindy Kalogeropoulos noticed that Jackson was coming to the school during winter break to work on a script for a play to be put on by the teachers. Kalogeropoulos said she was struck by the extra mile that Jackson was going for the school.
“That’s the kind of person she is,” said Kalogeropoulos. “She is such a dedicated teacher. As a member of our staff, she is always willing to volunteer and participate.”
Kalogeropoulos said she had read in the newspaper about a program sponsored by Symetra, a financial-planning company that honors teachers by presenting the school with a check. The teacher also is presented with tickets to a Bears game.
Kalogeropoulos said she nominated Jackson for the honor because of Jackson’s dedication to consistently create an environment where students can thrive.
“That consistency is not an easy thing being a teacher,” said Kalogeropoulos. “It takes a lot of personal sacrifice.”
Jackson’s students didn’t see the Bears’ surprise visit coming either.
“It was so shocking and such a big surprise,” said Jackson. “Being a teacher, you’re the center of attention all day long, but this was a different kind of center of attention.”
In addition to the tickets, Jackson received a personalized Bears jersey. The representative also presented Grove school with a $1,000 check and a $200 gift card from Office Depot, which Jackson said is going to be used for technology in the classroom. She said the school has yet to decide how to allocate the $1,000.
Jackson, who grew up in the south suburban New Lenox, said what she likes best about teaching is being able to witness the moment when a child comes to an understanding or “gets” a certain subject.
“In teaching elementary school, there’s so many different ways in which kids can discover something,” Jackson said. “That’s probably one of my favorite things about teaching.”
On Sept. 23, Jackson and her husband went to the Bears game at Solider Field, where the Bears beat the St. Louis Rams 23-6.
“It was a great day and they won,” said Jackson. “We were able to go down on the field before the game. It was a pretty cool experience.”