My name is Mrs. Jernigan, and this year will be 15th year as an elementary teacher. I taught K-5 in New Mexico, Alaska, Mexico and South America before moving to Tucson seven years ago. I cannot wait to get to know you and your child this school year and reach big goals together! I am passionate about teaching first grade because it is amazing to watch how quickly students grow academically at this age.
Defining Moment in Education
My defining moment in education was in my senior year of high school, when through two acts of caring, my teachers changed the entire course of my education. For most of high school, I was a shy and withdrawn student. Honestly, I had a pretty negative attitude toward public education. First, one of my teachers recognized that I had a talent for reading and writing, and recommended me for an advanced literature course. This teacher's simple act of recognizing and believing in my ability gave me a confidence and appreciation for school that I had never felt before.
The next defining moment was when I expressed an interest in a piece of art that my AP English teacher had hanging in her room. I asked her what the name of the piece was (it was The Lady of Shallott by John William Waterhouse), and she answered vaguely and seemingly without much interest. The next day, however, she suspended her regular lesson plan. Instead, she brought fresh baked doughnuts and used the entire class period to talk about the painting and read the poem by Alfred Tennyson that inspired the artist to paint it. I was so touched that a teacher would take the time to satisfy my curiosity and make a special event of a subject just because I was interested in it.
It is because of these two teachers that I became a teacher myself. Their confidence in me and their caring teaching methods helped me to realize that I could be an excellent student and inspired me to go to college. It is because of them that I love to find the hidden talents in all of my students, especially in the students who are more shy or maybe have never felt confident about school before.
Core Educational Belief
My core educational belief is that every single student can be a passionate learner, no matter what their previous experiences may have been. When given a voice to express their interests and goals, kids can grow exponentially.
B.A. in Sociology, University of Georgia
K-8 Education Certification, University of New Mexico
3rd Grade, Navajo NM, 2007-2009
Volunteer ELL teacher, Peru and Ecuador, 2009
K-2, Bethel, AK, 2010-2015
4th Grade, Flowing Wells Public Schools, Tucson, 2015 - 2018
2-5 ELL, Amphitheater Public Schools, Tucson, 2018-2020
1st grade, Amphitheater Public Schools, Tucson, 2020 - present