As Luling resident Jennifer Green tackles this school year, she will do it from two different vantage points – as a teacher and as a mother of school-aged children.
The wife to Travis and mother to two children – one entering 9th grade and one entering 6th grade – currently teaches 6th grade science at R. K. Smith Middle School.
“I always loved school, but after getting my education degree and teaching for a brief period of time in Orleans Parish, I ended up not teaching in a classroom but doing education programs with credit unions for more than 10 years,” she said. “Seeing my own children learn and grow under the guidance of some phenomenal teachers really motived me to want to return to the classroom and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children I teach.”
This is Green’s fourth year of teaching at R.K. Smith. She recently completed her Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University Shreveport in Curriculum and Instruction with a STEM focus. She serves as a 4-H and Robotics Team sponsor at school, as well as the 6th grade team and science department team leader.
“I am most looking forward to being back in the classroom, meeting our new students and watching them learn and grow. Students haven’t been on campus for more than four months and most of them are very excited to return… and we’re excited to see them,” she said. “Our leadership has been working tirelessly to ensure that we can safely return to school and continue to provide high-quality teaching and learning opportunities.”
While new safety measures – such as required temperature checks, masks and social distancing – will make for a different school experience, Green said she is looking forward to collaborating with other teachers and district staff to figure out creative ways to keep students actively engaged and learning while still maintaining a safe learning environment.
“My favorite thing about teaching is the ‘lightbulb moments,’” Green said. “When teaching science, we do a lot of questioning and exploring. Rather than giving the students a list of vocabulary words to study and information to memorize – which is probably how you and I learned science – students today actually conduct investigations, generate questions and make discoveries – with the teacher as a guide – and these activities lead to students developing an understanding of the concepts and content for each unit.”
Green said her science classes do a lot of hands-on group projects, so the new school environment is allowing teachers to make better use of new technology platforms to make sure students are still engaged and collaborating with each other.
“I am also looking forward to the wonderful collaboration and co-teaching relationship I have with my co-teacher, Paulette Thomas. Her commitment to students is incredible and having two educators in the classroom helps us make sure we are meeting each students’ individual needs,” Green said. “Working in St. Charles Parish, and especially at R. K. Smith, feels like working with family. Everybody is so caring and supportive, and there is also such a strong commitment to student success and an equally strong commitment to teacher success and effectiveness.”