Jake Southern is Lower School Physical Education teacher. He began working in Carolina Day’s Lower School as a kindergarten assistant in the 2004-2005 school year, during which he won the Golden Apple award from the school.
Get to know Jake Southern:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “One of the biggest advantages to teaching at CDS in the Lower School is the small class sizes. There are many games that we play that we would not be able to if the class sizes were larger. Also, it allows me to get to know each student on a personal level and assist them if they are struggling with a certain skill or activity.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “I like that I have the opportunity to teach Lower School students, which is the age that I love to teach, but because we are a Pre-K through 12 school, I still have the opportunity to coach Middle and Upper School athletics.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “I think that through creative programming, the emphasis on differentiation, and the individualized attention students receive, teachers are able to foster and challenge students passions and force them to think outside the box.”
How would you describe your classroom? “A safe environment where students, regardless of athletic ability can have fun, while learning how to use and exercise their bodies. In the gym, we emphasize effort over results; as long as you are giving your best effort, then you are successful.”
What books and authors inspire you? “Eric Jenson, who has written many books on the effects that movement has on learning. The Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv had some great insight into the advantages that kids receive when they are able to “play in the mud”.
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can”- John Wooden
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Make being active fun for every student, regardless of ability.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “I would say I am known around CDS for the annual family dance, and for the coaching of many sports over the years. I think athletics teaches character, teamwork, time management, and hopefully reveals talent at some point for all who try.”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “I am excited about the direction that the Lower School is going in regards to athletics at a young age. It is something that has not been done at the elementary school age, and I think it will greatly benefit our students and families.”
When you reflect on what you do in your classroom and what you see at CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? Why/how is what you see now valuable? “I think we do an amazing job of challenging every student in their own way. Every student learns differently, and we do a great job of discovering what that way is and pushing them.”