Four-time Piedmont University Education Grad Finds New Ways to Connect with Students
His bachelor’s degree provided him with subject-matter expertise.
His master’s degree prepared him to for the day-to-day responsibilities of teaching.
His doctorate readied him for leadership.
But one of the most important skills four-time Piedmont University graduate Jacob Marble gained during his degree programs was the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands of secondary education.
“That’s something I was presented with very early on at Piedmont. One of my professors was big on asking us to reflect, and that stayed with me,” he said.
“I often take the time to ask myself what my purpose is in doing something, or why I’m doing something a certain way, or if I need to do something differently. That habit of reflection has helped me to adapt my teaching practice to meet the needs of my students.”
A native of Banks County, Marble always excelled in science. He originally planned to become a doctor, but after working in a nursing home, realized he didn’t want the daily life-and-death pressure of a career in medicine.
“I did some thinking, and what I realized was that more than a specific profession, my purpose was to help people,” he said.
“Teaching is helping people but in a different way than medicine, and it fit my skill set better. It came naturally for me to talk in front of people and to explain things in a way that others could understand.”
Marble earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Piedmont in 2007, then his Master of Arts in Teaching, Education Specialist, and Doctor of Education in 2009, 2013, and 2017, respectively. For the past 14 years, he’s taught chemistry and physics at Jefferson High School.
He loves his work because no two days are exactly the same, nor is he the same teacher today that he was when he first started in the classroom.
“Going back to that habit of self-reflection, I’m always reassessing how I teach. Just because something I’ve done has worked for the last five years, doesn’t mean it’s the best way today. I am constantly looking at my delivery and assessment methods.”
For example, Marble recently began offering the option for students to perform simulated lab experiments.
“A lot of kids today are dealing with anxiety or other emotional issues. I also have students who just like to tinker around and experiment. These are also students who have grown up watching YouTube and TikTok. For many different reasons, the ability to work independently in a simulated environment may be a better fit for certain students,” he said.
“As a teacher, it’s my responsibility to engage my students — and to be willing to change.”
Marble’s education also readied him for leadership positions at Jefferson — or even the district level. Marble is currently the science department chair. As chair, Marble acts as a liaison between the school’s eight science teachers and the administration.
“I see my role as looking out for my team members, making sure they have the support, information, materials — whatever they need to be successful,” he said.
“Piedmont definitely helped me to improve as a teacher. My professors had been educators themselves, some of them very recently, and they were able to give me real-life advice and insights from their experience.”
Marble recalled one course in which he and his classmates were able to interview both a school principal and a human resources director from a private business.
“It reiterated for me that the things we were learning about leadership were relevant to both education and the private sector,” he said.
Regardless of where his career takes him, his purpose remains the same: to help others.
“One thing my parents always told me is that people can never take away your education. Education is one of the great pillars of our society,” he said.
“Education provides you with the option and opportunity to do anything you want with your life.”
Learn more about Piedmont University’s College of Education at piedmont.edu/education.