SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Jennifer Sherman (2018)
Elementary School Teacher, 2nd grade
Each month, St. Johns River State College will honor one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.
Fresh out of college with a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism and a minor in English, Jennifer Sherman began working as a reporter/producer for a small ABC news station in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. However, she didn’t land her “dream job” until she eventually relocated to Florida and began working as a 2nd grade teacher at Fleming Island Elementary School.
“I have always loved working with children and felt extremely comfortable with primary age students,” said Jennifer, who, during her 12 years as stay-at-home mom, held part-time positions as a preschool and elementary substitute teacher. “My favorite time was substitute teaching, long term, in a 2nd grade class. That was when I realized that I could definitely teach every day and truly enjoy the challenge of working full time as a busy mother of two.” Once Jennifer began exploring her local training options for the Florida Professional Teacher Certificate, SJR State became her college of choice.
What was it about SJR State that made Jennifer immediately enroll? Read on for that answer and more, including her advice to those considering enrolling in SJR State’s Early Childhood Education program.
WHY DID YOU SELECT SJR STATE FOR YOUR TRAINING?
SJR State had a very unique and organized program. I knew exactly what the expectation was, what classes to take, what state certification would look like, etc., etc. I met with Dawn Boles (teacher education coordinator) who took the time to answer all my questions, and the next step truly seemed so simple. I enrolled right away!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET A JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM THE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM?
My situation was unique in that I already had my temporary certificate when I started the program. In Florida, you can get this certificate when you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. I also had to pass the state required tests to achieve my temporary certificate. It was truly a gift that I was able to complete the required courses online through SJR State to receive my professional certificate while teaching.
PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR CURRENT WORK AND WHAT YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT IT.
I am a 2nd grade teacher at Fleming Island Elementary school. When I say that this is my dream job, I absolutely mean it with all of my heart. Each year, my students and their parents become my family, and somehow I seem to fall in love with each class more and more every year. It is not an easy job in any way, but the relationships and the rewards outweigh the long hours and preparation that I put into my students and my classroom.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR TRAINING AT SJR STATE?
The classes! Classroom Management and Principles of Teaching were two of my favorites. I took these courses the summer before I transferred from a Reading Resource teacher to a 2nd grade teacher. Both really helped me in establishing and evaluating my goals and objectives as a classroom teacher.
WHAT DID YOU FIND TO BE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
The technology class was probably one of the more challenging ones for me. Incorporating new forms of technology into my craft is not my strength. I was very fortunate that my professor was available to me for any extra assistance. She gave me her cell phone number and helped me on the weekends and after school whenever I needed it.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE CONTEMPLATING ENROLLING IN SJR STATE'S ECE PROGRAM?
Go for it! You have nothing to lose and only your education to gain. It’s worth every hour and every penny. SJR State makes it completely doable no matter how busy you are or what your obligations entail. The program will take you through at your own pace. I was able to finish in 18 months - fairly easily, but it’s so nice to know you have the option to move along at your pace based on your own goals.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC CAREER GOALS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE?
I am currently enrolled in the last course needed to obtain my Reading Endorsement through the state of Florida. This endorsement will help me to be a stronger Reading and Language Arts teacher, especially for students who struggle with the many components of reading. I also have a personal goal to teach for at least 15 additional years. This would give me 20 years total in the district. I hope to make an impact on many lives between now and then.
ARE YOU AN SJR STATE ALUMNUS?
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Director of Public Relations and Publications