Can you tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name is Jennifer Bryant and I teach at Hope Elementary School, which is located in a small town called Hope, Indiana. I teach sixth grade all subjects and this is actually my first year at hope elementary. I taught 12 years previously in South Carolina.”
Why did you start a career in education?
“For me, the reason I started a career in education is I had witnessed some of my family members who were teachers and I got to one just when I was little played teacher. But then as I grew older I got to see the impact teachers made, not only on other students but especially on me because I was not a motivated student, but I did have some teachers, luckily that got through to me and really just made the impact I needed.”
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
“It could have any other job. I always said I would love to be an astronomer and work for NASA. Um, I just think that the idea of outer space and exploring the unknown and seeing everything that is out there is amazing and it is something I always wish I could have done. So I wish I could have been an astronomer.”
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
“Kids different than 30 years ago. Now I'm taking experience from me. I do think a big thing is we didn't have the technology that we do now. Um, so as kids we were forced to be creative on our own. We were going out and creating adventures and playing in the dirt, playing in the mud. Um, just coming up with our own ways of finding fun and interacting with other kids. I also just think that not being reliable on technology like we are now just allowed us to build those independent skills. Those think outside the box skills.”
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
“A lot of what we are wanting kids to do now teaching is different. Um, I know going back to my experience when I was seven years old, which would have been 30 years ago, um, you had just straight, you know, Bazell readers, you read out of the book, everybody read it out of the same buck. There wasn't much differentiation. If kids were, you know, needed extra enrichment, or needed extra assistance, there wasn't as much there. Also, obviously, like I said before, the technology piece wasn't there. So it was all, um, a lot more worksheets, a lot of different types of hands on things that you don't see as much.”
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
“Now someone was to want to go into teaching. I would really encourage them. I think teaching is amazing, but I also want them to think about the reason they're going into it and realize that it is a lot of hard work and it's a lot of hard work for not always a lot of um, respect and acknowledgement. But that the reason you do it is for the kids. Ultimately that is why we are here. We are here for the kids and having that impact.”
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
“And then one thing that I would like to change, um, to help kids learn better is I really do believe that. I think we should find a better balance of implementing technology and not having it be relied on as much. I know, especially in these times that we're on right now, we have to rely on technology so much, but I do think in the classroom we need to still be encouraging that creativity aspect, that teamwork, the, you know, finding the different ways to solve the problems and really just letting kids be kids before we push all the academics on them, especially at such a young age.”