Monday, January 1, 2018

Extraordinary Instruction

While the last of the warm weather has faded into wintry wonder, I have the privilege of introducing you to another person with an extraordinary story – Gayle Jensen. I met her over three years ago when she became an assistant youth librarian at my local library. Juggling librarianship while being an adjunct professor at a community college, Gayle teaches students of all ages. She handles college classes by day and library classes at night while enjoying life with her family. 

Welcome Gayle!  

Q) First off, how did you end up becoming a college professor and an assistant children’s librarian? 

A) I always dreamed of teaching children's literature as I love books, reading and teaching. I applied to teach The Exceptional Child class when I became aware of an opening at our local community college.  I was thrilled to get the job, so I put the children's literature dream on a back burner.  I taught part time for many years and found I had more time to spare when my children started heading off to college. We also had bigger bills so I started looking into new career opportunities and found out about an opening to work in the children's department at our local public library. 

Q) Between the two, you must teach so many different age levels. How do you switch gears from little ones to adults?

A) I taught elementary school for many years, then adjusted to teaching college students.  In many respects, it is much easier to teach big people! By now, I have an equal amount of years of experience at each level, so it isn't really hard to shift between the two age groups.  

Q) What is your favorite age to teach? 

A) That's a hard one! I think I enjoy teaching big people more, but delight in having the opportunity now and then to work with children. 

Q) If you could only teach one thing, what would it be?

A) I still enjoy teaching potential future educators about children and learning.

Q) Between the library and the college, are your jobs similar in any particular way?

A) For both jobs, I need to continue to develop my technology skills. Truly enjoying learning, helping others learn and interacting in a positive way with others is vital in both jobs.  

Q) How are the two jobs different?

A) I don't have to be "on" 100% of the time when I work at the library. I have time to sit and work on individual projects and interact serving patrons as needed. When teaching, I am "on" the whole time I am running my class, but then have to work on lesson plans and grading on my own time. 

Q) Who is your favorite author, personally as well as to read aloud to others?

A) Oh, that's a hard one, too. I enjoy a wide variety of books and authors. I think one of my favorite children's book authors is Pam Munoz Ryan.  I loved Echo and Esperanza Rising. I also love Kate DiCamillo's books. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a favorite. As a young teacher, I can remember discovering Shel Silverstein during a visit to the school library and being brought to tears and laughter while reading his poems to my students for the first time. Mo Willem books are a more recent favorite when it comes to just plain fun. I recently thoroughly enjoyed reading New Socks by Bob Shea during a story time at the library. I'm currently reading and enjoying The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. 
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Q) What is one unexpected thing about yourself you’d like to share?

A) I grew up having cats as pets and had my own two cats as a young adult.  I adored them all. We brought a dog into our family 6 years ago. I had NO IDEA how cool the dog club was!