CATEGORY: Teachers and Leaders

Karina Sumano Jul 5, 2018

Jenine Jeffreys is a science teacher at Amistad Academy Middle.  Where did you grow up and why did you go into education? I grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but I went to school in Stratford through Project Choice because of the poor selections of schools I had in my area. School was always a big part of my life and I was always pushed hard to keep my academics up. I knew I wanted to be a teacher since 3rd grade when Ms. Pisani came to my house after I broke my wrist in a skating accident. She had the class make a “Get Well Soon” book where they drew pictures and wrote notes. I knew then I wanted to grow up to be someone as thoughtful and caring as she was. Why did you choose STEM? What about STEM inspires you? First off, science is the master subject! There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not use science in some sort of way. Science has interested me since I was a kid. I would go outside and collect bugs, I would take my toys apart and put them back together. Anything that had to do with space absolutely fascinated me! I could stare at the sky for hours and never get bored. I just knew one day I would be an awesome teacher that would cultivate this love of science for children. What do you teach now and what’s the best part of teaching it? The best part about teaching 5th grade science is that I get to teach my kids some pretty foundational concepts, like gravity, and chemical changes, but I also get to have a lot of fun with my kids! They do so many hands on activities that bring out my inner child. The best part is watching my kids do an experiment and seeing their eyes light up when they “Get it” is amazing. Why AF? What is your favorite part of working here? I really love the curriculum. The expectations for the learning are really high and that was something I didn’t have much of growing up. I love how rigorous the work is. I’m proud to teach at a school where kids that look like me have access to this type of content. What do you hope your students take from what they learn in your class? I hope my students learn that being wrong is okay. There are kids who are afraid to talk in class because they think they have the “wrong” answer. There are a lot of times in class where my kids will not quite get it, but I don’t let it go. I always have them go back and search in their science notebooks for evidence that could help, create a discussion, ask more questions! BONUS: Tell us more about you. What’s a fun fact you want to share about yourself? While on a cruise I competed in a Lip Sync Battle (from the show on Paramount Network with LL and Christy Teigen). I lost sadly because my dance moves aren’t that smooth.   Are you passionate about STEM like Jenine? Join teachers like her at Achievement First. Check out our careers page for a full list of opportunities. 

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Karina Sumano

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