AACT Member Spotlight: Jenn Craven
By AACT on June 1, 2022
Every month AACT spotlights a passionate member who is dedicated to enhancing chemistry inside and outside the classroom. This month, we spotlight Jenn Craven. She teaches science at The North Carolina Leadership Academy in Kernersville, NC.
Why did you become a teacher? Did you always want to teach?
I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my students. I always wanted to teach, but I did not follow that path directly. I grew up in a family of educators and saw the long hours, the heartbreak, and the tears that came with the job. I originally went to school to major in psychology and even went to graduate school to do Industrial/Organizational Psychology. While in my undergraduate studies I got an additional degree in mathematics and pursued additional courses in science, in particular sciences for engineering majors. I enjoyed seeing how math, engineering, and the sciences all connected. While in my graduate internship, I realized that my heartbeat was actually for education! I went back to school to become licensed to teach middle grades math and science.
Share a story from your past that led to your choosing your field of work.
When I think back to defining moments that led me to choose education, there are three things. One is growing up as the daughter of a teacher that had a passion for education and a love for her students. My mom taught for 30 years in public school and 12 years in a pre-K class. I had that same desire to make a difference and then was shaped by other educators I encountered. My Spanish teacher helped me to see that you could not only teach your subject but could care well for students as well. I took four levels of Spanish so I could continue in her class and be inspired by her. She had such a joy for teaching, for students, and for her subject—it was contagious! I also saw the kind of teacher I did not want to become through an experience my brother went through. I learned that I wanted to show fairness, grace, and kindness to all students and to remember that they are each fighting battles that we may not know of. It is important to get to know our kids!
What fuels your passion for science and teaching?
Seeing my students excited to learn fuels my passion!! I love that science content is engaging, is current, and is expanding! I enjoy that science provides so many opportunities to show my students areas in "the real world" where they can use the content they are learning and future careers they can enter based on their interests. Once students have entered my class, they become "my kids." I truly love seeing their interest in science grow, their belief in themselves grow, and their willingness to tackle new/difficult/perplexing tasks with confidence grow
What are you most proud of in your work?
I am most proud of the relationships that I build with my students and how much they grow throughout the school year. My students will tell you that I challenge them and push them to learn at a very high level. As we build a strong rapport, my students begin to see themselves as the scholars that they can be! They are willing to persevere through difficult activities, work, and assignments and begin to see that they are all capable of growing and being young scientists. It makes me so proud at the end of the year to be able to show each student how much they have grown!!
In three words, what would your students say they learned from you?
You can learn!