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Can you tell us about yourself?

“Hi. My name is Jen Orona. I teach 4th grade at Ann K. Heiman Elementary School in Evans, CO. I have been there about 7 years.”

Why did you start a career in education?

“I started teaching after I had my first child. She was about 1 year old when I decided to go to college to pursue education. It was important to me to have a career that I thought would have a bigger impact on my community.”

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

“If I could have any other job, I would make coffee. I love coffee. I would love to work at Starbucks, and they have lots of great perks.”

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?

“Kids are different now. They are on devices a lot. They are on electronics a lot. They don’t social as much and they probably don’t have as much time to be outside and hangout with others. They have a different way of socializing now. But they are also much more in tune with their emotions and their pursuits I guess.”

How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?

“There was probably not as much Wi-Fi usage. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a problem. Classes were probably smaller, and the copy machines were either nonexistence or they weren’t effective.

What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?

“If someone right now told me they were thinking about becoming a teacher, I would tell them to spend time in a classroom as soon as they could and to do things in that classroom outside of just teaching and presenting lessons. There is so much more to the job. You get there really early, stay there really late. Practice all the things that come with teaching. Go to conferences, set up a room, clean it out for the summer or not get along with the office manager. All these fun things.”

What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?

“I would love for kids to share what they want to learn versus what we want them to learn. I think too often we tell them what’s important to us and we don’t let them tell us what’s important to them. So, I’ve love to help. Children, not so much change how they learn, but change we teach so they can learn better.”

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