Jennifer Hussung Named Greenwood Teacher of the Year
Southwest Elementary teacher takes home top award
Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Growing up, Hussung’s would play school with chickens on her family’s farm. Today, she is in her 16th year of teaching and has taught a variety of grade levels.
“Second [grade] is definitely my favorite,” she says. “[The students are] starting to really put all of the pieces together. Seeing the students’ growth, the things they were not able to do at the beginning of the year that they can at the end, it’s very rewarding to get to see that growth and see all those lightbulbs go off and make connections and to be more confident in themselves.”
Hussung’s favorite part of her job is the relationships that she builds with her students. She gets daily visits from past students as they go to their third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms.
“You’re with them for 180 days, so you spend a lot of time together,” Hussung says. “Just building those relationships and getting to see them grow throughout the grades and the school years is fun too. My girls go to school in [the Greenwood corporation] too, so it’s kinda fun to follow [former students] and get to see your students grow up.”
Hussung’s class has RTI time, which allows her to spend some one-on-one time with her students on what they specifically need to work on. A laptop cart sits at the front of her classroom, and lesson demonstration and remediation programs are used. She looks forward to walking into her classroom each day and seeing her students.
“At this age especially, they’re still very compassionate and are excited to see you,” she says. “It’s never the same day in teaching. There’s always something different that happens every single day.”
Hussung was nominated for the Teacher of the Year award by Southwest Principal Beth Guilfoy. She didn’t know she was nominated but got called into a meeting with Guilfoy and found out she won.
“I was very surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Hussung says. “I’m very thankful to win the award.”
Throughout her teaching career, Hussung has learned how to better handle situations and to be an advocate for students who need help with learning, behaviors or situations at home.
“I’ve just learned how to be an advocate for those kids that need a voice and to make sure that they get their needs met,” Hussung says. “You can go to college and learn how to teach reading and math and writing and spelling and all that, but there aren’t really courses on how to handle unfortunate situations that kids are dealing with.”