OPS TLA | Profiles
OPS TLA Primarily Math
Dean of STEAM/Project-Based Learning
Kennedy Elementary School
It was clear to Jen Jensen at an early age that she was meant to be a teacher.
“I don’t think I chose to be a teacher; I believe it chose me,” Jensen said. “I was the kid who lined up her teddy bears and read to them. I even made worksheets for my friends to complete. One of my favorite quotes is: ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I feel I have done just that.”
Now her career is reaping the rewards of Primarily Math. After joining Cohort 2 in 2014, Jensen found herself instinctually incorporating what she has learned from her first three courses into her past classroom at Franklin Elementary.
“Just a few weeks into my first year of teaching with Primarily Math, I could already see my students owning their math education and becoming true problem-solvers,” the former third-grade teacher said.
Jensen has had some “a-ha” moments of her own.
“There is so much intrinsic reward in understanding a concept or a problem that you truly had to grapple with. When I was finished with my first two summer classes I was truly proud of myself in a way that I hadn’t felt before in my own educational experience,” Jensen said. “For the first time, math is making sense to me. I am seeing the ‘why’ behind math concepts that for a long time I only really understood the ‘how.’ I now see math in the big picture and it has made me a better mathematician as well as a much better educator.”
Now Jensen is the Dean of STEAM and Project-Based Learning at Kennedy Elementary School. Jensen said she has a soft spot in her heart for at-risk students.
“My philosophy is to create an inviting environment where students and parents can feel safe,” Jensen said. “These courses have opened my eyes to becoming a facilitator of my students’ learning rather than a dictator in their education. I now am listening to them more and allowing them to take hold of their own learning. They are becoming more curious and willing to try hard things, which I feel is not only valuable in their education, but in life.”
Jensen appreciated the opportunity to be part of Primarily Math and has been eager to share what she has learned so her peers can benefit from the same knowledge. With the desire to reach more than just the students in her classroom, Jensen’s goal is to positively change as many lives as possible.
“If you are even just considering Primarily Math, I would say it would be the best professional decision you have ever made, no matter where you are in your teaching career. It will change you in ways you could have only imagined.”