Glens Falls City School District recognizes national Teacher Appreciation Week by highlighting committed and enthusiastic teachers from every one of our schools each day of the week! Read on for an inside interview with Hannah Jenkins—one of the most dynamic teachers around our district.
Recognizing our outstanding educators in GF Nation: Friday, 5.10.19
Hannah Jenkins: First Grade Teacher, Big Cross Street School
1) What do you do to engage your students? What makes your teaching and learning environment unique?
It’s important for the kids to know that they are part of our classroom. To keep them engaged, I try to incorporate things they are interested in such as tv shows, toys, and songs throughout our day. I use their names in math stories and use popular toys as math manipulatives. We listen to their favorite songs when we take brain breaks.
2) Why do you think it’s important to teach the way you do?
I think it’s important for the students to feel safe and comfortable. I love it when they share stories from home and I try to bring those stories into my teaching as much as possible. First graders are still very young and need a lot of nurturing and time; time to learn and form friendships. I try to give them that time and plan our days according to their needs. If they’re not happy or feeling safe, they will not learn and what I’m teaching them will not be meaningful until they are ready.
3) What do you feel is the most exciting thing about teaching?
The most exciting thing about teaching is seeing the progress the kids make from September to June. They come to first grade eager to learn, but still needing a lot of help. By June, they have soaked it all up and are independent learners! It’s also great to see their smiling faces every day. They come to school so eager to share what they did the night before or what their plans are after school.
4) Describe your best lesson ever.
My best lesson ever was a reading lesson. We study becoming “word detectives” and for this lesson the kids were working on fluency. I showed them a clip from the movie, Zootopia. The clip highlighted an interaction between a rabbit (Judy) and a sloth (Flash). The point of the clip was to show kids that to be a fluent reader, they needed to read like Judy-like you’re talking, not like Flash-word-by-word. From that point on, the kids would say, “Read like Judy!” It stuck with them all year.
5) Tell us a little more about yourself.
I went to Queensbury High School and graduated from Elmira College with a degree in Elementary Education and The College of Saint Rose with a Master’s in Literacy. I have been teaching for 13 years and have been at Glens Falls for 10 years. My favorite unit to teach is the Word Detectives reading unit.