Jasmine Graves is a teacher at Paul Habans Charter School, with more than 11 years of education experience. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in African American and African Studies and Philosophy. She also holds a law degree from Loyola University of New Orleans and was admitted to the Louisiana bar in 2009. She currently teaches fifth and sixth grade Social Studies at Habans and is a founding team member of the school.
Graves said she was drawn to education as a career because she saw an opportunity to improve the lives of children. “Education has always interested me because helping people has always been my passion,” she said. “Children who receive a good education make better decisions as adults and, more often than not, are productive citizens in the world at large.”
Graves spoke from experience when she discussed the importance of a quality education for all children. “I worked in juvenile justice while in law school,” she said. “I mentored at-risk girls at a local school from their 7th grade year until their senior year in high school. We focused on college readiness, manners and etiquette, appearance, and the importance of being a law abiding citizen. The girls were exposed to many different opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had if they were not mentored by attorneys and future attorneys.”
When asked about her favorite aspect of teaching, Graves cited the maturation of her students through their learning. “I love watching students make strides academically, socially, and cognitively,” she said. “As students gain knowledge, many times they also mature. Seeing them mature and begin to make ‘right’ decisions is an awesome experience.”
In reflecting upon how she has grown as a teacher while at Habans, Graves said the experience of working in a turnaround school environment has taught her the importance of never giving up. “Habans has taught me the value of perseverance,” she said. “At a turnaround charter school there are a lot of obstacles that you must overcome in the first year. There are many things that you must contend with on a daily basis and still produce good products, which are scholars who are ready for state testing and ready to succeed in college preparatory high schools. Thus, you must come each day with a new attitude and vigor to face the day’s challenges.”