Congrats to Julie Jensen, our first Teacher Spotlight honoree! Julie has been a standout member of our community so we wanted to give you the chance to get to know where she’s coming from, what makes her tick, and what’s on her mind as she looks ahead in her career.
TeachersConnect: You’re at Loyola University Maryland right now, as a sophomore. Was there a specific moment when you decided that you wanted to become a teacher?
Julie: I ’ve known that I wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school. At home, my older cousins would set up a little white board and I’d have to play the student while they taught me. But, when my younger cousins were born, I would be the teacher and have them be the students.
TC: Were there any teachers in elementary school or later that influenced you in becoming a teacher?
Julie: I always say I want to be like my 3rd grade teacher, she made school so fun. She had this comfy chair in the class, and if you were good or had enough tickets, you could sit in it. She just made school fun.
TC: Now that you’re at Loyola, do you have a favorite class that you’re taking?
Julie: I’m in Social Studies Methods, and I really love it. If I was in a school that’s departmentalized, I could see myself teaching that. I could also see myself teaching Spanish.
TC: Why did you choose Spanish as your second major?
Julie: I came from a diverse high school, and the language differences created a divide, because everyone sectioned off into their own areas. I really want to work to bridge that gap.
TC: What is your greatest challenge right now in your path to becoming a teacher?
Julie: Right now something I’m facing is I want to go into education policy and leadership at some point, and it’s determining when I would make that shift. I still want to teach for a bit, and going into education policy means it’ll be a Master’s program.
TC: Are you doing field visits right now in your classes? What are those like?
Julie: I’m doing two field visits. I’m doing small group math interventions, and I’m also in a science classroom. For the interventions, it’s one-on-one. I’m planning what I’m doing with them, and I’m the sole teacher, but it is a much smaller scale. We did something similar last year as freshmen, with reading groups, and we had more guidance. But this time we went in cold. The first day I went in, I tried to do a worksheet with them on adding and subtracting, and they said it was too easy. Plus it was Valentine’s Day, they had a lot of sugar, so it became too much for them.
TC: What’s a small victory you’ve had with a student in the last year?
Julie: Last semester I was at a different school, and I was an aide in a classroom. There was a student that had some behavioral problems, and would sit in the corner not doing anything. I decided one day to take him for a walk, and talked to him about sitting in the corner and how that may make things harder for him in later grades, and how he gets lost while doing work. Next time I was in, he was sitting in his seat, waved to me, and seemed very focused while working.
Have advice for Julie?
So now we are asking the community – is anyone else thinking about or taking steps toward their career beyond the classroom? Any ideas for ways to bridge language gaps at diverse high schools? If you have any advice, ideas, or encouragement for Julie please share it as a comment on TeachersConnect!