DUSD Fifth Grade Teacher Jason Ewing Honored at Alameda County Event

Michael Utsumi, Funding & Programs Coordinator
October 14, 2019

On a perfect October evening, scores of educators, administrators and supporters descended upon the Castro Valley Center for the Arts. The purpose of the gathering was a celebration hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education for the annual Teacher of the Year Awards. The 18 county school districts serve more than 200,000 students and employs over 10,000 teachers. Once a year, a spotlight is shined on those professionals that are demonstrating above and beyond great passion and innovation according to their peers. On this evening, John Green Elementary School’s own Jason Ewing was honored. Jason is a fifth grader teacher and is into his seventh year of his profession and he is a father of three children.

Jason Ewing and Family

Jason Ewing, his wife and two of their three children at the ACOE Teacher of the Year event.

His profile philosophy states that “He believes in creating strong relationships with students based on trust and care.  And, ensuring that his students care of each other, our planet and mostly themselves when they leave his class at the end of the year.”  DPIE had the recent opportunity to visit his classroom and we sat down to understand his approach to developing his classroom and students. 

DPIE: Please describe your growth as a classroom teacher – contrast the educator that you are today vs. when you began your career.

Jason Ewing: “I would say the biggest transition I have seen in myself is the ability to recognize that each and every student is worth more than the curriculum itself.  I used to spend countless hours trying to prepare to meet every standard placed in front of me and I wasn’t able to move my energy toward the student as a person.  I have recognized that really getting to know each student is invaluable.”

DPIE: In your profile video, you articulated that a part of your job is to make coming to school stimulating and fun for your students.  Please explain further.

Ewing: “Sometimes the standards we are expected to teach can by “dry.”  I try to instill my free-flowing personality into these lessons as well as others that are more interesting to the students.  We listen to music to get data sets for math and to teach theme.  We do a Quarterback Club to work with fractions and decimals and to create graphs.  We get into the garden to see energy transfer through ecosystems.  We play “trashketball” and have “sno-ball” fights to teach figurative language.  In doing things like this and more, I am trying to get the hook for all students, so they want to come to school every morning.”

Jason Ewing in the classroom

Mr. Ewing in the classroom.

DPIE: As a fifth-grade teacher, what social/emotional/academic tools are you building for your students as they are preparing to move on to middle school?

Ewing: “I want all my students to realize their voice and their actions are powerful and that they can all make a difference in their community and this world.  We have been doing annual action projects geared to making the world a better place.  Students work in small collaborative groups to educate the Green population and their local community.  I try to help create lifelong learners who are independent and want to investigate and learn more about many different topics.”

An image of inspiration

A message of inspiration in Mr. Ewing's classroom.

DPIE: While you probably don’t do your work for the accolades, what has it meant to you to receive this recognition?

Ewing: “It has meant that I need to represent the amazing family of the educators of John Green Elementary.  We are a team and anyone of my colleagues at Green could have received this award.  I was very humbled when I won the award.  But I also know the hard work and the passion with which I attack every moment of this job, so it was a feeling of accomplishment and recognition.”

The ACOE Teacher of the Year program is in its 30th year. The 2019 theme is “Lighting the Future.” Clearly, there is a guiding, shining light in Room C-12 at John Green Elementary School. Also honored that evening was Chris Meyer. Chris teaches Video Game Art and Animation through the Tri-Valley ROP. These courses are taught at Dublin High School. Dublin Partners in Education is a Participating Sponsor of this event.