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Unsung Hero: Mr. Jacoby

Chris Jacoby is an English and Social Studies teacher, as well as the head of the Socials Studies department. His enthusiasm and dedication are contributing characteristics as to why so many students at Collingwood enjoy having him as a teacher.

Though Kevin Downey–a grade eleven student at Collingwood– does not have Mr. Jacoby as a teacher, he describes him as “intellectual and humorous” and explains that he respects his opinion.

Annalise Clark is another grade eleven student who has Mr. Jacoby for English 11/AP Seminar. She explains that he is someone who “genuinely cares about how his students do in class”.

Mr. Jacoby was also one of Jaclyn Holtby’s teachers. She explains that he “truly wants his students to not only comprehend the material, but also connect with it”.

Mr. Jacoby is viewed as one of the best teachers at Collingwood, and from personal experience I can most definitely attest to that. In this series of “unsung heroes” I hope to better understand what make these individuals unique and talented, and inform others about what we may not know about them and how they demonstrate excellence in the Collingwood community. Here is my interview with Mr. Jacoby:

Q: What is your favourite part about being a teacher at Collingwood?

Mr. Jacoby: Overall, my favourite part is the teaching itself. I like teaching and interacting with students and figuring out ways for students to learn Social Studies. I also enjoy the courses I teach – Social Studies and English. These subjects engage the areas of knowledge that I’m passionate about. Finally, I like working at Collingwood. It has afforded me so many opportunities and experiences I never thought I’d have. For example, I’ve been cast in a play! Being in a play is something I’ve never done until I started working at Collingwood and I’m grateful for the experience. Though, I do find it terrifying!

Q: Do you have any pets, or have you ever had any pets?

Mr. Jacoby: I didn’t have any pets. I did have a fish for a brief period of time, and I did house sit for a few weeks for some cats several years ago. But beyond that, no pets. (Though, I do now have a healthy respect for cats)

Q: Most fascinating war or battle, in your opinion?

Mr. Jacoby: This is a good question. I thought a lot about this one.

The most fascinating battle to me is the battle of the Plains of Abraham where the British triumphed over the French forces outside of Quebec city. It was such a gamble and several things had to go right for Wolfe to win this battle. If Wolfe had lost the battle, his name would probably be lost to history and he would be known only by his poor health and leadership. However, he had one big moment and now he’s memorialized. Also, like students, I’m also fascinated by how 18thcentury battles are fought. It’s amazing that troops would stand in a line, in bright uniforms, and just be still as they were shot at.

I spent my first summer after I started teaching taking a train across Canada, and one of the stops was Quebec City. Here I walked through the Plains of Abraham: I found the plaque markers of where the troops stood and the site where Wolfe was killed.

Q: Favourite colour?

Generally, it’s red. But I think I own more things that are blue. So I guess blue is my favourite colour too.

Q: Favourite movie and book?

Mr. Jacoby: My favourite movie is The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight is essentially a crime drama with comic book characters. Also, Batman is my favourite comic book character because Batman essentially is still a regular person who has a lot of gadgets. As well, he uses his fear and his anger over the death of his parents to fight crime. His one rule is that he will not kill anyone. My favourite scene is when Batman is interrogating the Joker in the police station. What is fascinated about this scene is the power reversal: Batman is physically more powerful but the Joker is intellectually stronger and controlling the situation.

My favourite book is The Beach by Alex Garland. It’s a book about traveling, adventure, and backpacking through Southeast Asia.

Q: If you were not a teacher, what would you like to be doing?

Mr. Jacoby: Honestly, I don’t know what I would be doing. However, I would like to see how far I would get by being a travel blogger. I hope I would be successful here.

Q: Favourite place in the world? What country or place would you like to visit next?

Mr. Jacoby: It sounds anticlimactic to say, but my favourite place in the world remains Vancouver.

I’ve been lucky to travel a lot: I’ve walked barefoot into the cold water outside Charlottetown, PEI, and I’ve visited Batoche in Saskatchewan. I’ve seen the rusting paddle wheelers outside Dawson City, Yukon, and I’ve just recently been to the street corner in Boston where the Boston Massacre took place. I’ve walked Juno Beach and lounged outside the Shakespeare and Book Company store in Paris. I’ve walked the wall in Dubrovnik looking at the red roofing tiles, and I’ve wasted half a day by the Chicago river.. I’ve seen the railway line entrance of Auschwitz Birkenau, and I’ve woken up early to listen to the chants in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. I have enjoyed my time in those places and others, but at the end of all those trips I really look forward to arriving in Vancouver. I guess unlike all those other places, Vancouver is home and my favourite place in the world.

Q: Who is your favourite singer or band?

Mr. Jacoby: I think there is a lot of great music. And I’m continually interested in all the new and emerging stuff that’s out there. However, one of the bands that I’ve always enjoyed is U2. I listened to them in high school and university, and I continue to listen to them still. As well, they put on a great concert!

Q: Where did you grow up?

Mr. Jacoby: I grew up in Vancouver, and I’m still waiting for the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup.

By: Addie Tiller

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