We all remember a teacher who inspired us. An individual who has always believed in us, supported us through challenges, sparked our passion for a topic, or inspired us to keep going when we were discouraged. For me, I was fortunate enough to have many teachers who shaped my academic career and passion for education. In addition to being teachers, these individuals served as mentors, nurses, counselors, parents, friends, and ultimately, role models.
Teacher Feature, a new blog series by The School Planner Company, highlights educators from all over the country. These teachers and education entrepreneurs make an impact in and outside of the classroom sharing valuable knowledge with students and fellow teachers through influential sites and blogs. We are excited to bring awareness to how much teachers do each day, the relationships they foster with their students, and ultimately, how we as a community can best support them. Look forward to new teacher features regularly!
If you know an amazing educator who you think we should feature, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
Jenniffer Bodie, Moving Forward in Education
Why did you become a teacher?
I actually didn’t decide to become a teacher until I was already in college. I was in nursing school when I changed my major and it pushed my graduation back an additional two years. I have always loved working with children, but it never occurred to me to become a teacher until I heard students in the teaching program discussing it. Something clicked and I decided I wanted to pursue it as well. Once I started my methods courses in the classroom, I knew I wanted to make teaching my career. I am in my seventh year as a teacher and have never looked back.
What inspires you as a teacher and influencer?
Becoming an education influencer started out as just a side hustle and wanting to make some extra cash aside from teaching. After I had been creating resources for a little while, I started getting involved more in the various social media teaching communities. It was in those communities that I was inspired and realized I wanted to help change teachers’ lives. I wanted to help other teachers grow as educators and teach them the things you don’t learn in college. This is when I decided to start blogging and created my first course.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new teacher?
Never stop learning! You will never learn enough in college to prepare you for the classroom. Once you get a teaching position, be sure to learn the standards for your grade level and the grade levels below and above your grade level. This will help you understand student background knowledge and what they will be expected to know in the next grade level making differentiated instruction easier.
Learn new techniques and methods and don’t be afraid to try them! When I first started teaching, a veteran teacher said, “You’re not going to hurt them.” Learning is learning and the worse thing that could happen you try something new, find it wasn’t as effective as you’d hoped, and you learn from it for next time so don’t be afraid to try new things!
What is one fun way you have motivated your students?
I am currently a virtual educator so student motivation has become a true challenge for me. I have started utilizing the behavior management application, ClassDojo, as a means of tracking student performance and positive reinforcement. Every time my class earns 250 points, we get to vote on a movie or show to watching during our independent block. I have been doing this for about a semester now and my students have been earning this on average of twice a quarter. My students really look forward to this and monitor how many points they have until their next reward. It has been very motivating for student participation. Now, I know this could vary depending on how often you give Dojo points, but if you wanted to use this method, you could adjust the amounts to match your needs.
Why do you feel paper planners are beneficial for students?
I believe paper planners are great for students for several reasons. I still use one myself! I know many students retain information more effectively when they write things down. Planners are also a great way to communicate with parents. They can see what their child is doing (or needs to do) in school just by looking in the planner. It’s a bonus that parents and teachers can write quick notes back and forth to each other too! Planners also help students finish their tasks in chronological order. Many students will want to work on a project that’s due next Friday when they have math problems due the next day. Finally, planners are a good way of keeping up with upcoming tests and quizzes. There’s no surprise when they go to class and have a test they didn’t remember, and it can act as a reminder to study.
If you could design your ideal teacher planner, what three things would you be sure it includes?
I love this question because I struggle year after year to find a planner the meets my needs. First, I would say vertical columns for each day. I like to go down my page as I complete things throughout the day. Second, teacher planners need a bulleted list to write down all of the reminders and tasks to complete. I have seen so many teacher planners only have spots to write in lessons for each block, but other things need to be done throughout the day and I prefer to keep that all in one spot! Third, tons of extra notes pages in the back. I like to take my teacher planner to meetings and take notes, but there are never enough pages at the back of the planner to last all year.