By: Jett Millican
Getting to know your regular 6 teachers you see everyday can be a daunting task for some, much less learning about teachers you simply pass in the hall. The Torch is going to make it easy for you, we talked to two new teachers at Jenks High School, Kayleigh Jordan and Lesleigh Clayton, so you can skip the awkward introductions.
Jordan may be a new face to some, but many have probably seen her in the halls of Jenks Middle School some years ago.
“I was at the middle school for three years,” says Jordan. “I started out in Jenks because I student taught at West Intermediate, 6th grade math and science, and then moved to the middle school.”
When a job at the Freshman Academy teaching math was offered to Jordan this summer, she practically jumped at the offer. Though she loved teaching at Jenks Middle School, Jordan had already been thinking of moving to a higher level when the job opened here. In her words the move was “just easy.”
Jordan found her way to Jenks through a student teaching program while she was in her senior year at OSU. Even though Jenks wasn’t on her radar of schools she hoped to teach at one day, she loved it so much that she hasn’t left since.
“I think that Jenks has a lot of perks. I think that teachers are held to a higher standard, and we also hold our students to a high standard,” says Jordan. “I know that whenever I was at the middle school teaching algebra and geometry, I had a lot of friends that asked ‘How are your students ready for that’? I just think that Jenks provides a very rigorous set of classes to get students to those higher level opportunities.”
When asked what she would be doing if she was not teaching, Jordan says that at this point she can’t imagine herself doing anything else.
“I always knew that I wanted to teach,” says Jordan. “The most rewarding thing is seeing those ‘ahha’ moments for students and seeing when they get it, when it clicks for them and making those connections to either previous math classes or other subjects.”
Jordan owes a lot of her teaching style to a professor she had at OSU, who emphasized teaching not just the ‘How?’ but the ‘Why?’ as well. Jordan is also more than happy to share her teaching skills with students she doesn’t have in class.
“I feel like I have a pretty welcoming classroom, I’m always open to having kids who have questions with math come to me for help,” says Jordan. “I don’t care who your teacher is, if you need help I’m always a place you can go.”
If you ever need any math help pay Jordan a welcome visit at room…
Clayton never saw herself as a teacher. In college, she went to receive her English degree, but stumbled upon her hidden talent as a teacher.
“I just sort of tried my luck, I found out that I love it [teaching],” says Clayton. “I went to the Navajo reservation and taught high school english there for 4 years. I went [to college] on a Native American tuition waiver, I thought it would be cool if I could give back by going to the reservation, so I did.”
Clayton is no newcomer to the Tulsa area; in fact, she attended Bixby High School. Even though it took her 20 years to make it back to Tulsa, no matter where she roamed, she always had Jenks in the back of her head.
“I always knew even when I was in Tennessee, or Colorado, New Mexico, that if I ever came back to Oklahoma I would teach in this district. I knew it was going to happen that way and it did,” says Clayton. “[Jenks] is the best, I want my kids here and I want to be where my kids are. I like the community, I like that its rooted in that, that’s the tradition.”
Clayton has been characterized as a “chill” teacher by her students. She attributes her teaching style to her vast array of teaching experiences.
“I’ve taught in inner-city Denver, alternative High Schools, to a lot of boys who didn’t want to be taught,”says Clayton. “I learned very quickly that you have to master that ‘Warm/Strict’ tone with them, Don’t give them too much, but you also can’t be too much, because it just doesn’t work. I think I’ve mastered the balance.”
It’s the relationships that Clayton has developed with students that keeps her coming to school on Sunday nights to prepare for the week, and according to Clayton, it is because of these relationships that she will remain.
Jordan and Clayton are not the only teachers new to JHS this year, take some time out of your day to introduce yourself. Every teacher is here for you, you should be here for them.