Educator Spotlight: Jess Blauwkamp, G2S.

November 27, 2021

Educator Spotlight: Jess Blauwkamp, G2S.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, Staff Writer.

Educator Spotlight is a presentation of is a presentation of Smith & Eddy Insurance, with offices in Scottville and Manistee, offering discounts for MEA members and school employees.

SCOTTVILLE – With a passion for getting to know her students, educationally, socially and emotionally, Gateway to Success (G2S) teacher Jess Blauwkamp has enjoyed working at the school for the last five years.

“I love working in education because I love seeing kids learn and grow in both content knowledge and in empathy for one another,” she said. “We put a lot of emphasis on social and emotional learning at G2S, and seeing students engage with that work and apply it to relationships in their own lives is really the best part of teaching for me.”

Blauwkamp teaches middle school. During those years of school is when many students start to understand more about their social/emotional feelings and then begin to express themselves. She said G2S is a big promoter of embracing student’s social/emotional make-ups and she wishes more schools would focus on students as whole beings, not just educationally.

“If I could change anything about how the education system works, it would definitely be to add more social and emotional education to the curriculum,” she said. “As much as I love teaching it at G2S, I really think all students, no matter where they attend or their life circumstances, could really benefit from learning more about how their emotions, reactions, and relationships work. This work helps students to build foundations for participating in adult societies, and for being successful however they choose to spend their adult lives. I think this focus really sets G2S apart from other schools.”

Blauwkamp graduated from Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville in 2012 and then received her teaching degree from Cornerstone University in 2017. She knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in education.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Teaching was always my end goal, and I’m really happy in this position. I love teaching at G2S because we cater to the specific needs of our students in different ways than traditional education can address.”

With a love for her students and a love for the career she chose, Blauwkamp stated that she really encourages students to pursue education, but they need to understand what all they are getting into first.

“If a student wants to go into education, I would tell them to think about their students as whole people, who come with complete lives and personalities,” she said. “It’s so much easier to teach kids when you have an understanding of who they are both within and outside of your classroom, and you can engage with them on a personal level. Also, don’t be afraid to share yourself with the kids, either. Making myself a real person to these kids by sharing some of my interests and beliefs is what really helps me to connect with them and build working relationships in the classroom.”

G2S recently has taken a new direction in their administration after its most recent superintendent resigned after only a few months under her belt, but staff members have stated that they are still working well as a team and are having a great year so far.

“G2S is doing well right now,” Blauwkamp said. “We have an awesome leadership team in place, and we’re working to continue our mission of personalizing learning for each of our students.”

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