Districts all across the country struggle to find substitute teachers. On top of that, it's even harder to find a substitute teacher that students know and trust. Here in Hamilton, we're lucky to have a familiar face filling several roles in several of our district buildings.
Jess Rockhold graduated from Hamilton High School in 2019. Thanks to her outstanding experience as a student, she hasn't gone far. In fact, she returned as soon as she could to help fill different roles around our district.
"I've been subbing for the past year and a half in Hamilton," Rockhold said. "I love it, every single day is a new opportunity to make a relationship with someone else, whether it's a staff member or a student. Being in the district that I graduated from, the relationships that I've been able to build have made a huge impact on me."
After bouncing around for most of the 2022-23 school year, Rockhold had a chance to get the taste of being a full-time teacher to start this school year.
Rockhold was a long-term substitute teacher in 5th grade at Hamilton Middle School from the start of the year to the end of October. Now, she is making the jump to Hamilton High School to fill in for a maternity leave.
"It's kind of unique in the way that I get to come to school every day and be in the same classrooms and form those relationships with those students instead of bouncing around," Rockhold added.
As a young substitute teacher, Rockhold has been working and learning alongside several of her former teachers.
"What all of the teachers poured into me as a student was phenomenal, so to be able to continue growing those relationships is amazing," she said. "Hopefully I can give back to the community a little bit, especially with as much as they all gave to me."
This full-time substitute teaching position at HCS isn't the only thing that Rockhold has going on right now. While she continues to get this first-hand experience, she is also enrolled in full-time online classes as a secondary math major.
"This position at HCS has given me the opportunity to be in a classroom and get experience, but day-to-day it is a crazy schedule," she chuckled. "I get to school and have a great day with the students, soccer season just wrapped up but I was also a soccer coach so I would go to our game or practice and then come home in the evening and work on school work and make sure I'm still taking care of my classes as well."
Rockhold credits 7th grade teacher Deanna Malloch for helping her fall in love with teaching at the middle school level. As a senior at HHS, Rockhold was a teaching assistant in Malloch's classroom and helped teach her all of the skills she needs to be successful in her current role.
In the future and after college graduation, she would like to remain teaching within Hamilton Community Schools.
"Walking into any of these buildings here in Hamilton, this is home. This is where I grew up, it's my comfort zone."