Jenny Ellery

Photo by Selena Liu

How does it make you feel that you were voted as one of CHS’s most influential faculty?

“It’s an honor. There’s a lot of good teachers; there’s a lot of good people in our school. It’s just nice to be considered amongst what students believe to be a group of people, since there’s more than one in it, a group of people that they found to be influential to them and their academic careers.”


How do you feel like you’ve impacted CHS as a teacher?

“I don’t know, that’s hard to tell you without sounding narcissistic. I don’t know, I think, just to spin it, there’s qualities that I pride myself in having, and one is probably work ethic. I always tell my classes, take your work seriously, don’t take yourself seriously. That’s kind of my own personal mantra, it’s like a work hard play hard personality. I’m just a stickler for hard work, and so I think that I always make sure I think they have the impression that I work very, very hard at this job because I love it and because you’re supposed to work hard at your endeavours and I think that that probably is something, whether it’s intentionally or inadvertently, I think they pick up on that, so when they have somebody that they can see works that hard for them, they want to give their 100 percent effort right back.”


What was your initial motivation for becoming a teacher and what is your goal as a teacher?

“My motivation was, I had some really great teachers in high school myself. I had two, in particular, social studies teachers. They were very, very different. One was my sophomore year world history teacher and I remember there was a point in the year where we had to do our course selection for the next year and at that school you were not allowed to just take AP classes, you had to be recommended for them, and so she handed me a recommendation sheet and I didn’t even understand what it was for. She was like, “Well, you’re very good at this and (you have a) very good grade and you seem very interested in it,”, and I didn’t even realize that I had really learned that much and come to value the history that much, and I think that struck me that there was a teacher who made it so cool and so interesting and so effortless even though I was working so hard, it seemed effortless. I think that was really inspiring to me. And then I had another teacher who was very, very different, was a great lecturer. While one was activities and just conversations, the other was kind of stand-and-deliver lecturer, but she was so good at it because she had so much interesting information. I think between the two of those, that became the motivating factor for me wanting to do this job. Goals, this is going to sound super cheesy, but I would love for kids to love history, and I hope that that they do, but I’m very realistic. At the beginning of school, I was like, “I know you’re here for one of three reasons: college credit, honors diploma and last, and probably least, because you’re really interested in history. And hopefully by the end of the year, we can flip that upside down.” But the bigger thing, especially with sophomores, is just I hope that they kind of find their way, that they become more confident as a student and in themselves, especially with AP. I also teach regular history, which there’s a lot on those kids’ plates, a lot of stressors, and sometimes a lot different  from an AP plate with stressors. So just making sure that all these kids believe in themselves and are confident, because it’s a really hard world to live in as a teenager now, and so just like themselves and find something that they want to be passionate about and just go for it.”


What impact have your students had on you?

“Oh goodness, I don’t know, it’s all the time. This is what’s so cool about this job, is it changes every minute, every day. I think just the energy. I don’t know, this is again going to sound weird, but I think that if you love this job, the job can keep you almost like youthful because you just feed off their spirit and their energy and just getting to know them. I learn so much from all of you guys, just content-wise sometimes, life skills, just everything, and I always want to work hard for them. I just want to make sure that they’re having the best experience that they can have.”

About the Author

Angela Li