Jennifer Englemann is quite literally living la vida loca.
With 37 kindergarten students at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School in Wichita, life is never dull for Englemann. Since each child has a unique story, smile and needs, Jennifer spends her day being so much more than a teacher. She’s a stand-in mother, a nurse, a disciplinarian, a counselor, a clown, a librarian, a referee and a coach.
“This is my second year teaching here,” Englemann said, “but I have been in the building for three years when you include my student teaching and substitute teaching.”
Englemann graduated from Friends University in December 2005 with degrees in Elementary Education and Spanish. She started out as a Health and Physical Education major but was wooed by the Spanish faculty.
“I got my degree in Spanish because Friends has some fantastic people in the Spanish department, and they very easily persuaded me of the value of speaking Spanish,” she said.
Englemann chose Friends for its faith-centered mission.
“I wanted something different. I thought it would be beneficial for me to be around other Christians and be able to take spiritual classes – something more than just to study religions,” she said.
While she accumulated boundless wisdom through her education at Friends University, Englemann said nothing can really prepare you for real life in the classroom.
“I don’t think anything can totally prepare you for teaching,” she said. “Even student teaching isn’t complete with all the extra paperwork teachers are required to do. Student teachers don’t fill out report cards or anything extra.”
But all that paperwork and red tape is easily forgotten when Jennifer considers the perks to her work.
“My favorite part of my job is to build a relationship with all of the kids in my school,” Englemann said. “They all love their teachers! It’s great to see them as they progress through upper grades. They think it’s really cool when you say hi to them and remember their names.”