Phone: (970) 276-3762 Ext. 2207
I didn’t start out wanting to teach. I searched through four different majors and three colleges to discover my passion. It took me some time to realize that education kept appearing along each of those paths; indeed, it was integral to them. Any day I was fortunate enough to work with kids was a good day. Whether I was coaching climbing, volunteering with kids at a museum, or teaching dance, the beautifully complex act of teaching carried me through even the most challenging obstacles. In the end, I believe the purpose of our lives is to exist in a state of happiness. If I can enter this profession that gives me joy and challenges me on a daily basis, then I will have fulfilled that purpose.
I believe that education is the most powerful tool to create a lasting impact on the world. Nothing is more potent or long lasting as an idea, especially when it occurs to a mind which is open, inquisitive, and analyzing. It is therefore the responsibility of teachers to prepare their students to become critical thinkers and leaders in an ever expanding global setting. This means not only equipping students with the basic knowledge and skills they will require for success, but also fostering qualities such as integrity, courage, and responsibility. A good educational experience should encourage students to grow, both as scholars and citizens of the world.
To achieve these aims, I believe that classrooms need to be both safe and challenging. Community building is essential for students to feel comfortable sharing their aspirations and ideas, as well as challenging each other to succeed. The classroom should be an open forum where students express their own ideas, as well as learn from educators and their peers. The best teachers never stifle discussion when it can lead to new realms of critical analysis. They understand that teachable moments come not only from the content, but also from the experience of life, and take advantage of both. Students should be expected to reach their greatest potential, and then challenged to push beyond it. This requires a great degree of differentiation in classroom instruction, but also faith on the part of the teacher that no student is incapable of learning and growing.
I also believe that both teacher and student should learn together. The most beautiful moments in education come when a teacher is able to tap into the natural sense of wonder that resides within each student, and use that to foster curiosity and a yearning for knowledge. In that moment, the teacher is no longer a figure of all-knowing authority, but rather a facilitator of a very unique experience. That experience has the power to touch the lives of students and teachers alike, and to be a force of positive change in our society. I hope to constantly strive to find those moments in my teaching.
For more information, check out my professional portfolio at http://sites.google.com/site/jenseneportfolio