Meet Your Teacher, Jennifer Norton
Grade/Subject at what school: First grade, Monon Trail Elementary
Number of years teaching: 12
Background/Schooling (college & high school): Carmel High School; bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Indiana University, Bloomington; and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Why did you become a teacher? I come from a family of teachers, so it’s “in the blood.” I first thought I wanted to be a journalist, but during college, I worked as a substitute teacher when home on breaks and as an instructional assistant for summer school each year. I loved it, and picked up education as a second major and main focus. I know it sounds cliché, but seeing that light bulb come on – hearing the tiny gasp, and seeing a child’s eyes light up when a connection is made – is truly the best feeling!
What goals do you have for your students? I want students to love school and feel safe and valued. I’d like them to know that if they put forth their best effort, they can do and become anything they want. Hard work is worth the effort, and intrinsic rewards are the best.
What do you encourage parents to do at home to help their children strengthen particular skills? Talk to your children. Help to build their self-esteem by letting them know you are interested in hearing about their school day, their friendships, their joys, their disappointments. Have dinner conversations asking them about their favorite and least favorite parts of the school day – and have them explain why. Make homework a priority and help guide them through difficult tasks, if necessary. Don’t give them answers, but help them exercise their brains to arrive at their own conclusions. Hug them and giggle with them daily.
What is your favorite movie? Anything that’s light-hearted, funny and entertaining.
Who is your favorite musician? John Mellencamp
What’s something your students might not know about you? I was in swing choir in high school and loved to sing and dance.