Be You and Persevere
By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Lower School teacher Jamie Rubin shares what sparked her love of reading and how she uses storytelling to create deeper connections.
Kindergarten educator Jamie Rubin felt the lure to return to LJCDS all the way from New York. She had taught in the Lower School at LJCDS for five years before embarking on a new life adventure with her then-fiancé, now husband, on the East Coast. It wasn’t very long (less than a year) before she realized that she didn’t want to be at any other school.
Get to know Mrs. Rubin.
What brought you back to LJCDS? I felt this powerful pull back to Country Day. It’s a safe space, where I feel comfortable being myself in this tight-knit, supportive community. My colleagues are wonderfully motivating and care about the children. We all love to learn, and there’s this constant push to keep learning and growing and improving together. Working with children is my passion, and I feel like I’m making a difference every day here.
What is your favorite memory from when you were in school? I always really liked school, but I hated the reading homework until fourth grade. I vividly remember my fourth-grade teacher’s influence. I wasn’t really into chapter books; I preferred books with more pictures than words like comics. But when my teacher read Harry Potter aloud to the class, I couldn’t wait for her to read the next chapter. There were no pictures, but the way she read it was so magical and drew me in, making me feel like I was in the story. She really changed reading for me from then on. It was so impactful. Reading went from being informational to being a moment of joy and relaxation and a way to enter a whole new world.
What is your favorite lesson to teach?
What’s funny is because of my experience in fourth grade, I read books aloud to the students every day. If I can be influential like that for a student, I feel like I’m doing my job as a teacher. Another reason the read-alouds are my favorite is that it’s another chance to get to know each other. This time on the carpet together provides that intimate, safe setting where students feel comfortable enough to share about their own life. The more they can share and hear about each other’s personal life, the stronger we are as a team. They make a connection to the story I’m reading and to each other and discover what they have in common when someone shares their likes or experiences. It’s created really rich moments and helps teach social-emotional learning too.
What’s the biggest lesson or bit of wisdom you hope to impart? There are two: Be you and persevere. Students create a Be You story that is all about them. We talk about how only you get to decide the things you like. Only you get to decide the things you want to wear, the way your hair is styled, the things you like to eat. We’re constantly coming back to that. There are so many moments that come up naturally where we say, “Oh, but who gets to decide that? Only you.” That’s a really exciting thing for them. They know they are in a safe space, where we celebrate each other’s differences.
Persevere is a big kindergarten word. We talk about never giving up and how you have to keep trying. Another teacher shared a story of when my students were in her classroom and one child was really nervous about an activity. Another student noticed their classmate struggling and shouted “Persevere!” The whole class supportively chanted the word and the student started smiling and was able to do the activity.
I think if you can learn those two life lessons, then you’re going to be in a good place to be successful.
More About Mrs. Rubin
Jamie Rubin grew up in the Bay Area and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. She returned to the Bay Area to pursue her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from St. Mary’s College of California. Mrs. Rubin first joined the LJCDS community as a Lower School associate teacher in 2016, during which she completed her master’s in education from St. Mary’s College of California. She loves working with children and has truly found her passion in teaching.
Mrs. Rubin believes that classroom success lies in good communication and compromise among a diverse group of personalities. Her role at LJCDS is to create an environment where members of the classroom learn to work together and engage in positive discourse, allowing students to become more interested in the material, learning about themselves and their classmates in the process. She believes that education should be about both the content and the people engaged in learning it—every learner has unique experiences to share.