Teacher Feature: Ms. Cantrell

Mara Parker, Guest Writer

Teacher Jamie Cantrell is one of the two Family And Consumer Science (FACS) teachers at Rolla High School, and she has been teaching for 23 years. Many know and love her for her bubbly personality, life advice, and desire to better the future. She is involved in FCCLA, and teaches the leadership class. 

Although Cantrell is more than involved in many school activities, she also focuses much of her time on her side jobs.

“The main [side job] is real estate. I have rental properties, I’ve just started flipping houses, I have storage units, anything to do with real estate. I also write books. I’ve written two books, I’m writing my third, and I already have the fourth one in my head,” said Cantrell

Cantrell loves working with and creating young leaders.

“I get to work with the most amazing group of young people. I get to work with the top of the top of RHS. They have to have good character, good grades, and good attendance to even get in the class, so I’ve got some really amazing kids in there,” said Cantrell.

Although it is not a club, leadership provides experience with community projects, school fundraisers, and Cantrell expressed her gratitude to be able to make such an impact in so many areas.

Balancing a successful home life with so much involvement in the school community seems like an awfully tasking job, but Cantrell finds a full plate is what stabilizes her the most.

“I hustle 24/7. My kids are grown now, so I don’t have them around as much so I balance it pretty well. I work better in overload, when I have ten things on my plate, and I want to go to the gym, and I need to help take care of my mom, and I need to do things with my kids still, and I’ve got five or six side hustles. I work real well under overload,” said Cantrell.

Having so much to do in all aspects of your life takes real motivation, which is hard to find. Cantrell has found where she gets hers.

“The first thing that really motivates me is seeing a change in people. Transforming lives, young lives, from this level to this level, really seeing them grow and develop and change. But I also am really motivated by money, and I hope that doesn’t come out wrong! I just think it’s fun to take something [worth] hundreds of dollars and turn it into several thousand,” said Cantrell.

While being a naturally motivated person may lead to success, Cantrell believes a lack of it amongst students may be the hardest part of teaching for her. She calls it “an entitlement mentality.”

“And some of the parents really encourage that in their kids, ‘ask for extra credit, see if you can turn that in late’, and there are no real consequences sometimes for that action and that frustrates me because I think that is a skill that we need, and that if some people want to fail bad enough, we should just let them. I think we teach them sometimes it’s okay to procrastinate, put things off, slack off (…) and I understand that some people have other issues and things that they’re dealing with, but the world is not gonna roll over for those issues,” said Cantrell.

So what is her single greatest encouragement to all of her students? The one thing she hopes for students to get out of her class? Cantrell expressed the difficulty to answer this question, as she has so many different classes and students every day. But the final answer followed suit in the overall theme of Ms. Cantrell’s life: hard work.

“If [students] get one thing I would want it to be that they should become the best quality version of themselves. There are masses of people out there that are normal and average and mediocre, and I don’t think anybody was born to be average. I think we were all fearfully and wonderfully made, and we were born to be extraordinary, and I don’t think a lot of people live up to that potential… So, I would like to encourage them to realize that they are the prize, and if they are not acting like that prize, that high quality man or woman, to change it. Life should be a process of changing every day. You’re not a car idling in your garage. If you were… you’re not going anywhere. So make the changes, put it in drive, and go for it,” said Cantrell.