By Jerry Duggan
In her 22nd year of teaching at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Amy Tassin remains engaged in and energized by her work. She knows the school is where she belongs.
“God knew what he was doing when he called me to be a teacher, and when he presented me with this opportunity to teach at Jesuit more than two decades ago,” Tassin said.
From her college days, Tassin planned on being a high school biology teacher, but student teaching assignments in public school districts left her searching for an opportunity for something more.
“There are many wonderful school districts that are filled with talented educators and students, but I wanted to be in an environment where God could be at the forefront of what I was doing,” she explained. “Being at a place like Jesuit, where that is the case, has made all the difference for me.”
Before her arrival at Jesuit, Tassin taught for 15 years at St. Mary’s Dominican High School, an all-girls Catholic high school in the area. She thoroughly enjoyed her time there but jumped at the chance to teach at Jesuit.
“I remember telling my fiancé at the time that there was no way I was going to get hired here – it was such an honor to even be considered,” she recalled.
Since 2000, Tassin has immersed herself in the student body, at times overseeing the school’s chapter of National Honor Society (NHS), or a biotechnology club in which students conducted lab experiments or leading Jesuit’s summer school program.
She has since scaled back some of those responsibilities, but today leads a pre-med student organization.
“I loved sponsoring all of my co-curriculars, but now I am a department chair and wanted my academic responsibilities to come first,” she said.
Tassin currently teaches a senior level Advanced Placement biology course as well as a course on human anatomy and physiology, honors biology and a new course called Introduction to Forensic Science.
She is able to balance so many different preps because she knows she is working for a bigger purpose.
“It’s important to teach students biology and maintain those high academic standards that Jesuit is known for, but ultimately, I’m doing all of this for the greater glory of God.”
She finds getting to know her students and developing personal relationships with them to be the greatest blessing of her job.
“I try to connect with my students on a deeper level,” she said. “I’m here to teach them, yes, but also to guide them, be a good example for them, and accompany them through their teenage years.”
Her work has also been recognized by colleagues.
In 2015, Tassin was nominated for the “Profile of a Jesuit Teacher” award, given annually to those who most deeply commit themselves to living out the mission of the Society of Jesus.
She was also named an outstanding teacher by the American Petroleum Institute.
“To be nominated for these awards by my colleagues was tremendously humbling,” she said.
She feels that feeling “at home” in her career has proved to be far more important than salary or prestige.
“I encourage my students to think about what they really want to do in life – to do something that will give them a sense of purpose and fulfill them as opposed to what might look the best from a financial perspective,” she said. “I am happy and home here at Jesuit – this is where I was meant to be.”