Committed to becoming a high school English teacher and having a positive impact on her students

LP - Jennifer Russo 2When I was 12, my parents told me that my seven-year-old brother Brent was falling behind in school. They knew I enjoyed helping him with his homework, so they asked me if I could take on the responsibility of tutoring him during the summer. Brent needed help with reading and writing, and as I have always been passionate about both, I jumped at the task. I turned my room into a mini classroom, with a desk for Brent and a whiteboard easel. I made vocabulary flashcards and fun writing activities, and I picked out books to read with him. Although Brent was reluctant at first, eventually he had as much fun as I did. Sometimes he became frustrated when reading, but I kept encouraging him, telling him that he was doing great. After working with him over a few weeks, I noticed that Brent was becoming independent, reading and writing sentences without asking me how to spell or pronounce a word. One day, I saw Brent on the living room couch reading a book aloud on his own. I smiled at him, so proud of how much progress he made. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

At first, I thought I would teach elementary school because I loved working with Brent, and I understood the importance of helping kids learn in their early years. However, during high school, I realized that older students need just as much encouragement and as many engaging activities as elementary kids. I noticed that many of my high school teachers gave up on unmotivated students too easily, thinking that it is too late for them to develop motivation and a love for learning. I disagree; I think all students, young or old, simply need someone who believes in them for them to succeed. I felt compelled to be the high school teacher so many of my peers were lacking: a teacher who gives every student a chance and finds a way for every student to learn, without ever doubting anyone’s potential.

By the time I applied to college, choosing a major was simple. I was set on teaching high school, and because I always enjoyed helping Brent with reading and writing, I decided to major in English Secondary Education. Now I’m entering my third year of college, and I’m committed to becoming a high school English teacher. I was recently accepted into the College of Education at my university, which means that soon I will be student teaching and managing a classroom by myself. Two years from now, when I graduate, my diploma will not just represent my success in college; it will be my key to my classroom, where I will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on every one of my students. Although teaching will never be easy, I will do everything in my power to show my students I believe in them and encourage them to learn and succeed.

We are proud to announce Jennifer Russo is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • It sounds like you will make an amazing English teacher! I can hear your passion through your writing. Excellent work!

  • There is nothing more honorable than teaching the next generation to think. You will certainly be an asset to your community.

  • Hope you continue to inspire others around you! Win this trip and continue to broaden your horizons! You’ll truly make a great teacher one day.

  • Great essay. Always enjoy seeing someone working hard to get to a place to help others. Good teachers are so needed.

  • Having been a teacher with 43 years experience, I can definitely hear the passion in her essay. She sounds like the kind of teacher we need in our schools to work with every child. She wants to inspire every student, not just the smart ones. I think she is a great candidate for teaching. She is the type of teacher I would have wanted my children to have when they were in high school.

  • Wow, there are so few people who seem as passionate about making a difference in kids’ lives as you clearly are. It gives me hope knowing that you are a future educator, and I can tell you’re going to inspire positive change for so many people!

  • It sounds like tutoring and teaching are in your blood: the very best kind of educator. Keep up the good work. The world needs you.

  • This is a really good essay. I’m Brent from the essay and Jennifer is really good helping me with homework from school. She makes different ways of how to teach me things about homework and other school work I have to do. I would prefer Jennifer teaching me then a lot of other teachers because other teachers have only one way of teaching and if you don’t understand that one way way your going to be lost understanding your classwork or homework your going to do. I like different ways of teaching and Jennifer completely nails this. Jennifer will be a fantastic teacher and I know it!

  • Yes! Don’t give up on anyone. Getting to know the buttons to students, understanding their struggles, encouraging them, and letting them know you think they can meet your expectations is soooooo important. So glad you want to become a teacher.

  • Jen is as intelligent as she is lovely! Seriously such a smart and motivated person you got this Jen!!

  • You are exactly the type of teacher I would have wanted to have and would want for the future of education. You’ll do great!

  • Regardless of grade-level, subject, or location, your students will be getting an amazing teacher. I hear your passion and drive to be the most well-rounded and compassionate teacher you can be. Best of luck! You deserve it!

  • This essay made me so happy. I can tell how passionate you are to get to teach and watch your students grow! Good luck! No matter where life takes you, I know you’re going to do awesome things, girl.

  • You will be such an amazing teacher. Many try, but few have the passion and drive you possess! Bon courage 🙂

  • I loved your touching essay and I could feel your passion for helping others. What a gift! I can tell that you are going to make a great teacher! God bless you always, in whatever grade you end up teaching~. ❤

  • It’s amazing to hear how motivated Jennifer is to help struggling students! Teaching is one of the most difficult yet rewarding profession. Can’t wait until you join our teaching community.

  • I loved reading your essay Jennifer! I remember how excited you were to help your brother, and teaching him seemed so natural for you. You are always working hard and showing your determination. You are going to be such a great English teacher! Your passion shines through! I am so grateful to have you as my daughter. I’m hoping you will get this. You really do deserve it! ❤️

  • Wow! I am in love with Jennifer’s passion for teaching!!! It’s such an amazing gift to have the drive and the patience!

  • Excellent essay! Being a teacher today is not, by any means, an easy profession. I know with you’re determination and compassion you will be a great teacher!