Enthusiasm comes easy for New Castle teacher | PostIndependent.com

Enthusiasm comes easy for New Castle teacher

Post Independent/Kelley Cox

NEW CASTLE” Linda Jabbour’s eyes light up when she talks about teaching.

And that enthusiasm spills into her class of eight second- and third-grade students at the Garden School in Apple Tree Park.

On this morning, the class is studying ancient Egyptian history, drawing pictures and using salt dough to make miniature Egyptian boats, crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

“Awesome … very nice!” Jabbour commends a student as she looks at his work.

The classroom walls are adorned with all kinds of student work, including a Queen Nefertiti poem the students memorized, a chart of numbers translated into Egyptian hieroglyphics and a time line of the Egyptian dynasty from 5000 B.C. to 2000 A.D.

Although not part of the studies, Jabbour’s two dogs, “Chloe” a 2-year-old yellow Lab mix and “Sadie” a 5-year-old Sheltie, act as the class mascots, lying quietly in the room.

The Egyptian history is part of the school’s “antiquities” program in which students study Egypt, Greece and Rome throughout the year.

The Garden School is a private, nonprofit school that teaches nondenominational Christian education. The curriculum varies from traditional public schools in that the students attend school twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays and are home-schooled by their parents the remainder of the time.

The school program is based on history, but students also participate in reading, writing, penmanship, math, dance, drama, gym and art.

“It’s a classical Christian education,” Jabbour explained. “We read the classics ” Aesop’s Fables, the Bible ” all good literature. Right now we’re studying the book of Genesis.”

The school works in conjunction with what the students are learning at home.

“It’s like team-teaching with the parents,” Jabbour said. “We enrich what they’re learning with their parents.”

Jabbour has been at the Garden School for the past seven years, but is no stranger to elementary education. She has worked as a teacher’s aide in public schools, including Kathryn Senor Elementary and Riverside School in New Castle.

“I love the energy and imagination children bring with them,” she smiled. “It always amazes me what they come up with and how bright they are.”

Born in Deadwood, S.D., Jabbour grew up in Seattle, Wash., and moved to Colorado in 1971 because she wanted to “check it out.” She soon met her husband, Jack Jabbour, and the two married in 1973 and made their home in New Castle.

Jack is also a longtime teacher, having taught at the old New Castle School, the elementary school in Rifle and retired this year after teaching for many years at the Riverside School in New Castle. Although officially retired, he also teaches at the Garden School.

Teaching just seems to run in the family as the couple’s two grown daughters are also teachers. The oldest, Amber, has taught elementary school for the past five years in Grand Junction and Jennifer is a teacher at Rifle High School.

Once in charge of the display models in the windows of the JC Penney department store when it was located in downtown Glenwood Springs, teaching definitely seems to be Jabbour’s calling.

“What I love about the Garden School is that we try to be like family and build a community,” she said earnestly. “I enjoy being around the kids and I can’t wait to get to school.”

Name: Linda Jabbour

Age: 54

Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

How long lived in Garfield County: 34 years

Occupation: Elementary school teacher at the Garden School

Favorite place in Garfield County: Her backyard near New Castle, which backs up to BLM land, along with the road behind her house leading to the White River National Forest.

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