On her first day, so much seemed alien to her. There were three arrests for fighting in the halls. Having grown up a Catholic school girl, she knew there would be no uniforms but what she saw shocked her.
“My first day here I just couldn’t believe what people were wearing. I was guessing how much a girl had spent on that dress or those shoes, it looked like people were dressed for a night out on the town,” says student teacher Allie Jordan.
Since that January day, her impression of East has only changed for the better. Ms. Jordan’s love of English has helped her to embrace both the school and the profession. Jordan is teaching Sophomore English at East. Educated at St. Thomas Aquinas, it was while reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald that an English teacher instilled in her a love of literature and language.
“She made the class fun and interesting and really helped all her students connect with the literature. She taught us how to read a book with an open mind.”
From that point on Ms. Jordan knew that she wanted to be an English teacher.
“I want help students develop a passion for reading, and teach an English class that’s more than just grammar,” Jordan said.
Ending up at East was no mistake or act of fate. Part of the process for becoming a student teacher is picking regions or schools that you would like to teach at, and Ms. Jordan put down the Shawnee Mission School District and Shawnee Mission East as her first choices.
“The reputation of East being a really strong academic school is what made me want to teach here,” Jordan said.
Before student teaching, Ms. Jordan studied at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan. and interned at a school there. She has had to adjust to the new environment here because the school she interned at was 50 percent Latino, and for many students English was a second language.
“I worked with a lot of students that didn’t speak English at home, and some hardly spoke it at all,” she said, and since coming here she says that she has been able to teach many lessons she wasn’t able to do previously.
Now well into her semester here, Ms. Jordan is planning more lessons, learning from her mistakes and working with Spring Gehring-Lowery and Laura Beachy.
“I’m being pushed by the teachers I’m working with and learning so much. Ms. Gehring-Lowery and Ms. Beachy are such amazing teachers,” says Jordan, “I’m just trying to learn as much as possible from them.”
One thing that amazes her about the school is the students’ determination and passion.
“The students here are so talented and dedicated about everything they do, they are truly exceptional.”
Ms. Jordan also enjoys creative writing and is currently applying to schools across the nation to begin work on her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with Florida State University at the top of her list. She is unsure of what the future may hold, having both a love for teaching and a promising future with creative writing. She says no matter what she ends up doing, that her experience at East will be one she will always remember.
“The kids here teach me something new everyday. They have an enthusiasm and brightness that is unparalleled, and it’s contagious.”
Seeing how passionate they are only makes her more passionate for what she does.
“It’s making me love teaching more and more, and making me care for my students more and more,” she says.