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Werklund School student jumps at the chance to put cheerleading to work in a classroom

January 09,2017

Dinos cheerleader Charlotte Jacobson brings teamwork ethic to Pack the Jack basketball classic on Thursday

Pack the Jack, the University of Calgary's basketball classic, runs Jan. 12 at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. Charlotte Jacobson and her fellow cheerleaders will be there to help fans break last year's attendance record of 3,200. <em>Dinos Athletics photo</em>

Pack the Jack, the University of Calgary's basketball classic, runs Jan. 12 at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. Charlotte Jacobson and her fellow cheerleaders will be there to help fans break last year's attendance record of 3,200. Dinos Athletics photo

Charlotte Jacobson sees strong parallels between teaching and cheerleading; both rely on teamwork, and commitment to success and constant improvement. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Jacobson

Charlotte Jacobson sees strong parallels between teaching and cheerleading; both rely on teamwork, and commitment to success and constant improvement. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Jacobson

By Betty Rice, Werklund School of Education

When Charlotte Jacobson takes to the court at the Pack the Jack basketball classic on Thursday, she’ll be part of a team. And that’s a big reason she became a cheerleader.

"My high school started a cheerleading team when I was in Grade 12," explains the lifelong Calgarian. "I went on a limb and tried out." She made the squad, and says she really enjoyed becoming more involved in her school and going to sporting events.

So when Jacobson had the opportunity to try out for the UCalgary Dinos squad, she jumped at the chance — literally and figuratively.

"Cheerleading is fun," she says, "because it's not only a sport, but a performance-based art form."

Graduate degree sparks interest in teaching career

Jacobson is also a student in the Werklund School of Education’s undergraduate program. When she earns her BEd in just about 18 months, it won’t be her first degree — she already has a BA (Honours) in French with a minor in Spanish, and an MA in 17th century French literature. She says her graduate degree got her interested in teaching.

"I had the opportunity to teach six language labs and two courses as a sessional instructor," Jacobson explains. "After one of the courses was over, I received this amazing email from a student, telling me how I'd changed his life and motivated him to continue with his studies in French. Receiving that kind of feedback, personal emails or lovely comments on course evaluations is an amazing feeling.

"That's when I realized I loved teaching."

Teaching and cheerleading are both team sports

Jacobson sees clear parallels between her two passions. "Teachers don't get to have bad days," she says. "They must put aside any personal issues they may be having and focus on their teaching." And she says cheerleaders are in the same boat: "They have to put on a smile and perform even if their team is losing."

But she says it’s more than that. "Cheerleading is a team sport, and, because of that, letting your teammates down is not an option. Teaching is contributing to the success of future generations, which to me is also a team sport. Cheerleaders can constantly improve and work on new skills and techniques. Teachers should strive to constantly evolve and perfect their art."

So whether she’s in front of a class or on the field, whether she’s teaching high school French or supporting her basketball team, it’s sure that Charlotte Jacobson will always be a cheerleader — and a leader — for those around her.