Friday, May 13, 2016

Mrs. Denton

It's time to come clean. I have a little project I've been working on. Months in the works, this project. It got to the point where I didn't know if it would work out, but then one day the Panda Express universe came through for me.
I taped it on my computer monitor to remind me that this was just the beginning.

And my fortune was right. My life will be very different in August.
I accepted a position to teach Dual Enrollment American History (like AP, but a little different) at the Heritage Academy Mesa campus.

For the past few weeks, I've been reading the textbook (all 1139 pages of it), observing in the classroom, watching recorded lectures, and taking endless notes in a tiny leather notebook. I have "lesson ideas" notes and "things I need to learn" notes and "classroom supplies" notes and "books to read" notes and "questions to ask the teacher" notes. The classroom she has created is phenomenal, and I am constantly amazed at how her kids interact with peers and actively participate in their learning. When I hop in the car after school each day, my mind swirls with possibilities, fears, and excitement. One day I texted the teacher--"I can't believe they are going PAY me to do this!" And that's how I feel--getting paid to do something I love so much.

Teaching is in my blood. My grandpa Olsen was a teacher and principal. One aunt and two uncles were teachers. A few of my cousins teach. My brother is a high school AP science teacher and his wife is an elementary principal.  It feels like the perfect fit for me.

Many stars had to align for this to work out--my undergrad degree in history, paired with my master's in education (plus a few online teaching courses I'll need to complete this summer) qualified me. My small job tutoring for a satellite campus this past semester got my foot in the door. And the rest? I can only explain it by saying I know this is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. I thought I might be getting my doctorate, but God has his hand in the small workings of our lives.
Excited. Overwhelmed. Nervous. Thrilled.

Excitement at the possibilities usually trumps the fear of the unknown, but when I do get overwhelmed or intimidated at this opportunity, I remind myself that I don't have to reinvent the wheel, I just need to learn how to ride the bike.

My own classroom.
Students and assignments and lectures and papers and tests.
US History.
Pinch me--this can't be real.

You can call me Mrs. Denton from now on.


  1. Congratulations to you for finding something that obviously makes your heart sing. It sounds like you'll be in the perfect place for you and that is indeed a blessing!

  2. Congratulations and best wishes on this new stage of life!

  3. Jen, that's so exciting. I can only imagine the emotions you are feeling, but you are going to be great!

  4. Congratulations. All the best to you.

  5. I can tell that teaching is in your blood and I can relate! Before MPS did direct deposit, I kept forgetting to pick up my check--I get paid for this that I love?!!! I'm so excited for you and that you can fulfill your passion for teaching!!!

  6. Congratulations Mrs. Denton! You will be awesome!! So happy for YOU!!