Inspiring the Future with 5th Grade Teacher Kristin Jacques

Christa McAuliffe’s Former Student Shares Her Inspiration

Dec 08, 2021 Written by FIRST Staff




Kristin Jacques is a 5th grade teacher at Maple Street School in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. As a former student of Christa McAuliffe, Jacques remembers how she brought the real world to her students and brought out the best in each one of them. It was this spirit that inspired Jacques to pursue education and what continues to empower her to build lasting relationships with each individual student.

Christa McAuliffe’s “Teacher in Space” legacy, reflected this year in the 2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Dollar commemorative coin sold by the U.S. Mint, exemplifies the incredible impact teachers like Jacques have on their students – and therefore, the future. Jacques reflected on her former teacher’s impact with students and how all teachers can foster relationships to bring out the best in each individual student.

Kristin JacquesKristin Jacques teaches at Maple Street School

FIRST: Can you share some background about your career as a teacher? 

JACQUES: I teach children who are in 5th grade at Maple Street School in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. I am really lucky to teach all subject areas. When I was entering college, I knew I wanted to work with children, so I double majored in elementary education and psychology. I loved the fact that every day was different in the classroom.  

FIRST: Christa famously said “I touch the future. I teach.” What inspired you to become a teacher? 

JACQUES: It is incredibly special to watch a child(ren) improve or understand something after much effort, plus the laughs are never ending. Christa's mantra, "I touch the future, I teach." is so true! As a former student of Christa’s, I remember how she made learning fun. She developed lessons that brought the real world to us. For instance, in our law class, we would participate in mock trials. Christa had a realness with us as a person not separating herself as the teacher and we were her students. She reached out to every student and brought the best out of them! She was a gifted teacher!  

FIRST: What inspires you about the current generation of students you teach?  

JACQUES: What inspires me about teaching the current generation of students is their ability to problem solve, use technology and adapt. The students have certainly proved they can adapt on a dime based on these last two years during Covid. I am always impressed with how much 10-year-olds know about the world and work to develop their own opinions. I also really love how they support one another and jump in to provide support! They are so smart and good! 

FIRST: This has been a particularly challenging time to be an educator. What has it been like for you, or what has kept you going?  

JACQUES: The last 18+ months have been very challenging as an educator. Every situation that is difficult, you have to slow down and look for the good. I loved having lunch with the students each day, whether it was through the computer or having them eat in the classroom, I know them on a deeper level because of this time. Last year, I really enjoyed having 11 children at a time (the remaining 11 were with us virtually). We were able to know each other so well and accomplish a lot academically. My relationship with the parents in my class was equally strong; I have so much respect for what they went through! It was a very difficult time for everyone, but I do have positive special memories from it. I am really lucky to have the same children this year so we will experience a more normal time together.  

Kristin Jacques"You have to slow down and look for the good."

FIRST: Other than Christa, who is an educator or STEM leader who inspires you and why? 

JACQUES: A leader in STEM who inspires me has always been Dean Kamen. I have been so impressed with his ingenuity and drive to make life better for so many. His creation of FIRST is as genius as he is. Putting together a program to excite students about STEM projects and problem solving is so important. I have also been proud that he is doing his work here in New Hampshire.  

FIRST: What advice to you have for the next generation of educators? 

JACQUES: My advice for future educators is to look for the gifts that each child has and help them know what makes them special. Make sure you make time for yourself to relax each evening and on the weekends and love what you do! 

Final Days to Purchase: Give the Gift of Inspiration
To honor Christa and help keep her legacy alive, you have until the end of the year to order your Christa McAuliffe commemorative coin! Christa’s legacy is a reminder of the incredible impact teachers have on students – and therefore, the future – and she inspired countless people to pursue knowledge and careers in education, space, STEM and more with the same infectious enthusiasm and pioneering spirit. By purchasing a coin, you are supporting kids in STEM and continuing Christa’s legacy. Learn more about the coin and how to place your order.

2021 Christa McAuliffe Silver Coin

Related posts in "Teaching the Future" Blog Series


Nominate a Teacher: As an organization serving PreK-12 students and teachers, we’re inspired to use our platforms to spotlight the next generation of Christa McAuliffes and those she inspires. Through December 17, we are accepting nominations for the Inspire the Future: FIRST Educators Recognition Program.

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