Greater Tulsa Reporter
AWESOME TEACHER: Union Teacher of the Year Jennifer Chalker with one of her students.
TULSA, Okla. – Jennifer Chalker was named the 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year for Union Public Schools Wednesday, February 24. She teaches kindergarten at Boevers Elementary School, 3433 S. 133rd E. Ave.
Chalker and other site Teachers of the Year were honored today at the Union Performing Arts Center, 6636 S. Mingo Road. Chalker is now eligible to compete for Oklahoma’s top teacher of the year.
Chalker became a teacher because she knew children need strong, encouraging, caring people in their lives to guide them throughout their education. “In college, I spent a summer working with underprivileged children in third-world countries, and it was then that I realized that these children were desperate for teachers who cared about them and their future, and I knew the same could be said for children in my own community,” Chalker said. “I have always loved working with children, and I knew this was the plan for my life—-to care about each individual child and the education he or she would receive.”
Chalker’s classroom is exciting and full of energy.“I have heard people say that your classroom tends to take on your personality, and this is definitely true of my classroom,” Chalker said. “My goal is to provide a safe and fun learning environment for my students in hopes that they will learn to love school and become lifelong learners. I try to create lessons and activities that engage every student so that each child has the opportunity to learn, share, and grow in our classroom from both the teacher and their peers.”
Some of her favorite activities at Boevers include the Kindergarten Transportation Parade, the Q & U Wedding, Read Across America Week, Super Kids Day, and the All-Staff Boevers Bash.
“I love working with my Boevers team to create these fun, educational events for our students. We have been given a great opportunity to change children’s lives, and we try to make every minute count,” she continued. “If we can make learning activities create happy, healthy memories for our students, we have done part of our job! I also love the activities that bring our staff together. Boevers staff enjoys spending time together, and I believe that is an essential part of a positive school community.”
Chalker likes to tell people that she is teaching students how to be human. “They have to learn how to use scissors, to be kind, to work together, to follow directions, to read, and to understand math concepts, but more importantly, I want them to learn how to learn. It is a big task, but I believe that if we can start children out with a love for learning, we have built a strong foundation to carry them through their years in school and beyond.”
She has the same goal for herself – learning for a lifetime. Chalker has a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University.
“I want to be educated on the most recent studies, statistics and strategies. I will continue to seek training and professional development opportunities in areas that will help my students. In the future I hope to get a master’s degree in curriculum and leadership studies,” Chalker said. “I applied at Union Public Schools because I knew it was one of the best districts in the state and would be a great place to teach. I have found that to be true. I like the small neighborhood elementary schools and the support that I get from the administration.”