Meet the Teacher: Jami Foster, Niles New Tech

Published 7:22 am Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

School: Niles New Tech

Grade/subject taught: 10th grade health/marketing class

Where did you attend college?  Grand Valley State University.

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? I have been teaching 26 years overall and 25 with Niles Community Schools.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I decided to become a teacher because I love sharing and encouraging my passion of wellness and sports with young adults.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? Spending time with family and friends, going to the movies and working out.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? That I grew up showing horses (western showmanship and contesting).

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Stephanie Plum from the Stephanie Plum series.  She’s my favorite because at times she reminds me of myself.  She’s carefree and seems to make remarks that don’t make sense but still make people laugh.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? Riding horses and playing basketball, volleyball and running track. 

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? I hope they view me as a teacher who will hold kids accountable but at the same time is very flexible and understanding. My co-workers would probably say that I am strong willed (I hate to lose) but very easy to get along with.

Who is your biggest role model and why? Without a doubt, my parents have been my biggest role models.  My dad’s work ethic has had a great impact on me. Growing up, he never missed a day of work even if he was sick, tired or exhausted. He expected me to never miss school or a practice. I try my hardest to be dedicated on a daily basis. My mom has impacted me because of her kindness towards others on a daily basis and always trying to think of others.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? It’s changed in many aspects but because I am certified in health and physical education, I have seen a decrease nationally in the importance of health and physical education classes. We have a huge crisis (in my opinion) with kids having anxiety and depression.  All kids need daily exercise and coping strategies on how to deal with stress. Exercise is a great coping strategy and is a direct link to higher test scores.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? My biggest advice is to be present and hold them accountable.  Being present simply means making the time to make sure they are doing their homework on a daily basis and having daily conversations about how their day went overall. Kids actually like structure and it’s never too late to change adult behavior to ensure your child’s success in school.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is…  I hope my students learn and understand that all aspects of health are equally important.  Happiness is linked to your physical, mental and social well-being and they need equal and constant attention to be healthy overall.

This photo was taken during spirit week.