Jenna Koeman is one of our new grade 5 teachers next year. She hails from Cork, Ireland, and we are very happy to have her join our staff. I caught up with Ms. Koeman to ask her a few questions.
Why are you excited about coming to Bedford?
I am excited about coming to Bedford because everyone I have met so far has been so friendly and welcoming! From my first interview, the students, teachers, and Mr. Ackerman have greeted me with a warm smile. I know that Lane Elementary is a school where I will be supported and challenged every day. I previously worked at independent school in Andover that was quite progressive, and I’m very excited to see so much of that progressiveness and forward-thinking in Bedford too! I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated faculty and administrators. As a new teacher to the school, I hope that my students will leave my classroom with the same curiosity to learn about anything and everything that was instilled in me by my teachers.
Why did you choose to get into teaching?
My dream since I was little was to teach (ask my poor younger sister who able to recite the alphabet at 2 years old because of my “teaching”). I had the most amazing and inspiring teachers when I was in elementary school, and I always aspired to be just as great as they were. Unfortunately, due to the requirement of a certain level of proficiency in the Irish language (Gaelic) to be accepted into an education program at University, my career plans veered off course for a time. However, I made it into the teaching field eventually! I am extremely passionate about teaching, and I am committed to my students. I wake up excited every morning to go to school, and I feel blessed to be in such a rewarding career.
What is the biggest difference between Ireland and US education systems?
I honestly thought there would be more of a difference than there actually is. The main difference is probably that most Irish elementary schools are still to this day Catholic schools, and so religion is a core subject. All students take Gaelic as a language from kindergarten right through until they graduate high school, and we have no middle school! Irish schools are eight years at the primary level and then six years at the secondary level. Ireland doesn’t have as much diversity, both in terms of race and socio-economic status, as the U.S does, so that makes the education system a bit different too. One really nice aspect of the Irish system is that third level education (college) is free! The government foots the bill for undergraduate degrees, and a portion of most graduate degrees. Apart from those little things though, the school day in Ireland is very similar to the school day in the US!
What is one thing that Bedford parents and students would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a complete techie dork! I love designing websites in particular. I have both an undergraduate and master’s degree in Business Information Systems which is a hybrid business/IT degree and I worked as a technology consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers before I moved to the US!