This Wednesday (October 17th) is Vermont Outstanding Teacher Day! This marks the 32nd year that the University of Vermont has honored outstanding teachers from schools throughout our State. This year, the two educators from FWSU to be recognized are Jensen Welch (BFA) and Emily DiGiulio (FES). Each of these fine teachers exemplify one or more of the five standards for Vermont educators – Learning, Professional Knowledge, Advocacy, Colleagueship, and Accountability. We are very proud of both of our winners!
TODAY WE ARE SHARING A SPECIAL Q&A WITH JENSEN WELCH:
FWSU: What excites you most about being a teacher?
WELCH: I love helping students take what they think is a really hard problem, and by showing them how to break the problem down into smaller bits and apply concepts we’ve learned, the students are able to figure the problem out. I also love when students start making connections between and among concepts and subjects, seeing how this concept is connected to that concept in a totally other subject. You can see the light bulbs springing to life in their eyes!
FWSU: When you decided to become a teacher what did your friends and family think?
WELCH: No one was surprised! My dad was worried I wouldn’t earn enough money – but I’d been working with kids my whole life, it seemed like a logical career for me.
FWSU: If teaching was not your career, what would your career be?
WELCH: Probably something else where I was working with kids and/or non-profits.
FWSU: Has your teaching changed at all since you started?
WELCH: Yes and No. Yes, I’ve become much better at assessing what my students understand versus just what they know. But some of the ways I conduct class have not changed, for example, starting every class with a warm-up problem.
FWSU: What advice would you give to students regarding the teaching profession?
WELCH: First and foremost you have to enjoy working with young people and want to spend your day with them. Secondly, while I teach mathematics, I don’t consider the math the most important thing I teach my students. Perseverance, precision, and learning to think deeply – along with some social norms – are the real things I teach. The mathematics is just the tool we use to learn the other things.FWSU: What do you love to do in your spare time?
WELCH: Spend time outside with my family, run, cook and garden.
FWSU: What were your experiences like when you were a student?
WELCH: I was a pretty traditional student. I played three varsity sports, took upper level classes, and was my class secretary for three years. I appreciated though when my teachers took the time to make engaging lessons and to get to know us as people not just their students, so I try to do the same for my students.
Principal Mike Clark’s words about Jensen fit her perfectly. He states, “Jensen always gives 110%. She is an exceptional role model for all educators.”
We agree. Congratulations Jensen!
Check back in tomorrow when we will feature a Q&A with Outstanding Teacher Emily DiGiulio.