Lindsey Jensen came into the teaching profession via an indirect route. She took a job as a teacher’s aide in a junior high behavioral disorder classroom. Part of the reason the students were not in a “regular” classroom was their inability to communicate and socialize appropriately with their classmates. Lindsey says that she heard a few expletives that she had never heard before. She realized by the end of the first day that although this job was certainly “no walk in the park,” she loved it.
This experience became the catalyst for her falling in love with the teaching environment. She decided to pursue a degree in speech communication. Lindsey graduated from college with high honors in 2005 and immediately enrolled in a master’s program and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching. She has worked in a variety of educational settings. She was hired 10 years ago as an 11th- and 12th-grade English teacher at Dwight Township High School in Dwight Public School District 230.
Lindsey is concerned not only about her students’ academic success; she lets her students know that she cares about their emotional and social well-being. Students relate to her bubbly personality, her warmth, and her enthusiasm for teaching and learning. One her students said that “Mrs. Jensen constantly radiates positivity. Her happiness is infectious.” Lindsey never gives up on a student and she will do anything she can to help students with schoolwork and personal issues. She is a teacher, a confidante, a mentor, and a role model. Students and staff alike look up to her and value her opinions, her thoughts, and her teaching.
Lindsey’s boundless enthusiasm for learning -- she is currently finishing work on a doctorate degree -- is evident in the work she and a colleague have been doing to redesign the 9-12 English curriculum. Her colleague says that “… Lindsey is so motivated to collaborate in producing a rigorous, well-aligned, skill-based, scaffolded curriculum that fosters practical student learning. She thrives on collaboration and, despite her confidence, has no ego.”
She inspires colleagues and students alike. Lindsey uses a variety of strategies to meet the varying needs of her students and she makes learning fun. She is flexible in her lessons to ensure that students really get it rather than just moving on because she has to meet a deadline. Lindsey gets excited about whatever she is teaching and that excitement transfers to her students. She is committed to building relationships with her students.
Lindsey builds relationships with her students and inspires all those around her by being involved with extracurricular activities like directing the Drama Club, coaching cheerleading, directing the spring musical, and coordinating the polar plunge team, to name a few. Lindsey is most proud of her ability to capitalize on her role as DTHS Student Council adviser to influence student involvement in Special Olympics.
Lindsey is almost done with her doctoral work, but she says she doesn’t intend to leave her classroom. She said she promised herself she would use what she learned while working on her doctorate to help her become a better teacher and she believes the experience has done just that. The school’s principal sums it up with these words, “In my 30 years as an educator, I have never met a teacher who has matched the levels of enthusiasm and professionalism that Lindsey brings with her every day.”