This summer, in an effort to celebrate the amazing teachers at JPS, we will feature one each week and their decision to make our schools their professional home. We are thankful for their boundless creativity, pursuit of their own education, and passion for not just their students, but the entire school they serve. We hope you will enjoy learning more about these incredible men and women as you enjoy your own season of rest and fun!
Math teacher, Caroline Clement:
I was born and raised in Jenison – and I love Jenison. My husband Dana was also raised here, and we are graduates of Jenison High School. We are very proud of the education that we received at Jenison High School, and how the educators and the curriculum have shaped who we are as human beings. We learned many lessons during our time here – both academically and life lessons from some of our legendary teachers during the 70s and 80s. I want to continue that legacy during my time here at Jenison. We have raised two children who have also graduated from JPS, and they are also very proud of their experiences here. They received a great education, have created lifelong memories, and their time here has helped build a foundation for the rest of their lives.
I think Jenison is a different school district because of the community that the teachers build with the students. I taught previously in another district, and it was a great experience that I enjoyed very much. But Jenison High School has created a climate where the teachers are not friends with the students, but are friendly with the students. The culture is one of respect, and the students and teachers are able to effectively work together in a friendly and comfortable climate. Everyday I look forward to coming to teach my students. I thoroughly enjoy their attitudes toward school, toward their teachers and toward their peers. I attribute this to the climate and culture that has been created since Kindergarten. I also believe Jenison is unique because of the academic focus. We are driven to be the best, so that when our students graduate, they can have many doors open to them. The teachers invest a great amount of time in creating curriculum that is beneficial to all of the students. Also, the teachers truly care about the performance of their students. There is constant sharing of ideas between teachers to help improve the academic successes of our students. Teachers are willing to give up personal time to work with struggling students to help ensure their success.
My building exemplifies this by being visible in the hallway, working with students during lunch and after school and showing a true interest in the students’ lives. Teachers are always visible in the hallway, allowing us to chat with students in between classes. It allows us to speak with current students and past students in a more casual manner. We also care about our students lives outside of the classroom. Teachers are very visible at sporting events and concerts and plays. We like to know how our students our doing in sports, the arts, and at their jobs. Also, there are many student led clubs that are monitored by the teaching staff to ensure that all students can find a place at Jenison.
I look forward to summer because I love to read. During the school year I am busy prepping for my job and I also coach swimming for seven months, so I do not have the opportunity to read as much as I would like. During the summer, I read as much as I can. I teach Summer School and do some part-time coaching in the summer, but I love to read in my spare time. I write down names of recommended books from my avid reader friends, and I try to read as many as I can during the summer months.
At the end of every summer I look forward to the start of the new year because of the opportunity to meet new people. My job remains similar every year because I teach similar content areas, but I am fortunate that my job also changes every year because I get new students. This is a job that allows me to form new relationships every year, and that is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I do get sad at the end of every year too, because those relationships, especially with seniors, are coming to an end.
If I wasn’t a teacher, I would probably be a lawyer. In my mid-twenties I was a banker, and I decided to make a career change. I was choosing between law school and education, and I chose education. My husband always tells me I should have been a lawyer because he believes he has never won a fight in our 28 year marriage!
There are a lot of things that my students don’t know about me: I am a first generation American. I am varsity letter winner from the University of Michigan for swimming. I took organ lessons for 11 years and have played in churches and in weddings. Lots of little odd and interesting things in my life.
Thank you, Mrs Clement, for your dedication to our schools and community! We’re thrilled you’re on our team!
Mrs Clement was chosen for this story by High School Principal, Dr Brandon Graham