Finding new subjects and topics to explore helps Bunnell’s Teacher of the Year keep her class engaged.
A time memory popped up on Jennifer Colindres’ Facebook page. The memory was her nomination for Teacher of the Year, five years ago, and now, Colindres’ is once again Teacher of the Year for Bunnell Elementary.
Colindres was one of those children who knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I knew from a very young age that I was going to be a teacher,” she said. “I loved learning, and always enjoyed learning new topics, and I still enjoy doing that.”
Her 26-year career began in South Carolina where she taught preschool.
“My daughter is a senior at FPC, and I moved here when she was 9 months old. I taught when she was at St. Elizabeth’s for three years, and 15 years for Flagler Schools,” she said.
She has taught at Indian Trails and Rymfire, and has been at Bunnell Elementary for the past five years.
Colindres’ enthusiasm is evident in her classroom, and the projects her students tackle. During her interview, the classroom had boxes of food the students collected to help their community.
“One group is working on homelessness,” she said. “They collected costumes, for kids in need, for Halloween, and it was awesome. They will tell you it was an amazing feeling to help out in the community.”
The students come up with their own ideas for projects.
“In the beginning of the year, we bounced around ideas. We don’t always know where they are going,” Colindres said.
The bus safety group started out as just a “safety group,” and the students narrowed it down to bus safety. Colindres said that she uses problem solving techniques to make school interesting.
Another group is working on improving the attendance rate.
“I would like them to think, ‘this teacher is really exciting, because…..’”
Colindres’ favorite subject, when she was a student, was math.
“I loved to write, but I liked problem solving, and challenge,” she said. “In high school we had weekly math Olympics.”
This year she is teaching a sixth grade gifted class for all subjects, but she said she has taught nearly every subject since she began teaching.
“I am infusing future problem solving into the curriculum,” she said. “Every year, we are doing new projects. Last year I was able to take the Community Problem Solving group to Michigan, where they won two world championships.”
Her children seem to feed off her enthusiasm for learning, and her desire to explore new things to learn.
“Education disparity, identify theft, we are learning about so many new topics,” Colindres said. “Last year we learned about the global workplace. It just fascinates me to learn about all of these new things.”