Patti Jacobsen began her 21st year of teaching Aug. 21, but it is her first in the Redwood Area School District. Jacobsen, who most recently taught elementary-school and middle-school aged students at the ECHO Charter School, has moved to teach fifth grade language arts and social students at Redwood Valley Middle School in Redwood Falls.

“When I started teaching I taught fifth and sixth graders in Wisconsin,” said Jacobsen. “I love being back teaching at this level.”

For Jacobsen, it was in the fifth grade when she discovered just how much she loved school and determined her future was in education. She added teaching fifth graders is great, because at that age the students are moving from just reading words and comprehending to expanding their base of knowledge and getting more involved in what they are reading.

She added at this level students starting to understand concepts such as inference as they read and are able to come to their own conclusions about the text.

“If I were to create my dream job, this would be it,” said Jacobsen, adding as a Homebase teacher, she has the opportunity to interact with students of different middle-school ages and each day she has the chance to teach both language arts and social studies to students in the morning and afternoon.

Jacobsen said she loves to read and to share that passion for reading with others. With students her goal is to guide them toward a lifetime of reading.

At the ECHO Charter School, Jacobsen taught a variety of grades and was involved in various leadership roles. She had been at that school for 19 years when she decided it was time to move on to help broaden her horizons as an educator.

“For me this is a new adventure,” said Jacobsen, adding it allows her a chance to shake things up a bit as a teacher and to learn a few new things herself. “I love to learn, and as a teacher I enjoy knowing I am learning right alongside my students.”

Jacobsen is familiar with the local school district. When her family first moved to Redwood Falls she served as a substitute teacher, and her two children both attended Redwood area schools. 

“It is great to be here,” she said. “Now I am working with a group of teachers my children had when they were in school and with younger teachers who are my kids’ ages.”

The local school district provided such a positive experience for her and her kids that she feels being part of the district is one way she can give back to a system that gave so much to her family.

Jacobsen added she appreciates the mentoring program, as it provides a veteran teacher in the district for each teacher who is new to the district. In Jacobsen’s case, her mentor is fellow fifth-grade educator Gale Morley, whose classroom is right next door.

That, she added, is great, because she can just pop in between classes and talk about questions she has and look for ideas from her mentor as well.

Jacobsen said things are going well in her new role as a fifth-grade teacher at RVMS, and as a Redwood Falls resident she likes knowing the school is so close. While she appreciated the drive to Echo each day as a teacher as it provided time for her to prepare herself for the day, she added knowing she can go to the school any time and work is a good thing.

Education has changed a lot over the past two decades, agreed Jacobsen, as technology plays a much bigger role in education. While she has embraced technology in her classroom, Jacobsen added she also believes there is still value in sitting down and reading an actual book, too.

Jacobsen is excited about the new opportunity she has been given and is looking froward to the chance she has to work with new students in a new setting to help mold them into lifelong learners.