Dallas ISD teacher Jamie Chatman beams with pride as she talks excitedly about returning to her Oak Cliff alma mater to make a difference in the lives of students.
The David W. Carter High School grad is a proud faculty member of the Carter collegiate academy, and couldn’t be happier about the assignment. “I jumped at the opportunity to come to Carter. I love Carter! I’ve always been in support of Carter,” said Jamie who attended Oak Cliff neighborhood schools from kindergarten through graduation.
“A lot of teachers invested in me – inside and outside the classroom,” she said. “They were very supportive, and I wanted to be the same for students who look like me – students who live in the neighborhood. I wanted to give back and be “that teacher” in their lives like I had when I was here. ”
During her earlier career in social work, clients often complimented Jamie for her natural rapport with teens and encouraged her to pursue teaching. Eventually, she decided to give it a shot and began her career in education at Emmett Conrad High School. While she was grateful for the opportunity, Jamie says she always knew where she ultimately wanted to teach.
One of several Carter alums teaching at the iconic Dallas high school, Chatman said they are invested in the school in a special way. “I do think that alumni coming back to teach at their schools promotes the school in a positive light,” she said. “I believe the staff is more dynamic because when you have that school spirit you want to see your school do well. You want to see your school go the next level. And you have a vested interest in your school.”
Drawing from her own experience, Chatman said there’s power in having walked the same halls as her students. “I have such a great relationship with my students because I can actually say, “I sat in this same classroom. I grew up in the same Wood Town community that you’re growing up in, and the sky is the limit. Just because you’re from the inner city doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and do great things.”
Jamie Chatman is one of many Dallas ISD grads returning to their former schools as teachers, principals and counselors – members of a growing chorus singing, “There’s no place like home.”