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HOMETOWN HEROES: Jennifer Selfridge

by | Oct 11, 2020 | Voices of Davidson

Jennifer Selfridge

This is my 19th year teaching middle school science. I started my career in Georgia and moved to the Lake Norman area in 2006. I have been a science teacher at Bailey since it opened that year. I have a daughter, Katherine, in fifth grade and a son, Luke, in 4th. When I’m not working I enjoy reading, working out, and can be found watching Georgia Tech football on Saturdays and the Panthers on Sundays.

Tell me about your day job.

I teach 7th grade science at Bailey Middle School in Cornelius. Normally that means using interesting demonstrations and labs, along with a bit of humor, to keep middle schoolers interested in science. Over the past few months, it has also meant learning a lot about Canvas, our learning management system, Zoom, and other programs to help my students continue learning in a remote setting.

How did you uncover this passion?

I’ve known I wanted to teach since I was in high school. I love learning new things and enjoy the expression on someone’s face when I’m able to explain a concept to them and they get it. I originally thought I’d enjoy being a high school science teacher, but my first job offer was for a middle school position, and I haven’t looked back. The middle school years can be tumultuous as the kids try to navigate that path between being a child and a young adult, and I like being there to help my students start to see who they want to become. I usually get interesting reactions when I tell other adults that I’m a middle school teacher, but I genuinely enjoy working with this age group.

What inspires you every day?

I like that every day is different. I may teach the same lessons four times a day, but it is to different groups and so each class period is unique. Right now, I’m so inspired by how so many of my students are working hard in school in difficult circumstances. It’s going to be an honor to meet them in person.

What are your challenges and speed bumps along the way?

I have to remember to focus on my energy on things I can control versus getting bogged down by things outside of my control. The social/emotional health of my students (and of me) is more important than any piece of my curriculum, and so I try to keep that in mind and be flexible as we encounter challenges.

Secrets to staying motivated and positive?

To use a phrase from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” I have to take time to sharpen the saw. For me, that means trying not to work after dinnertime, except maybe a quick check of email, and I try to take Saturdays totally off work. Other than that, if I notice I’m struggling with motivation or staying positive, I probably just need a good night’s sleep or a nice run to work through whatever is bothering me.

How can Davidson residents best support you?

Teachers in our area are fortunate to have such an involved parent community. Anything the community can do to help local families in need supports education. In today’s world a child is best able to learn when he or she is not worried about food, has a safe place to learn with basic school supplies, and now also has a technology device with a reliable internet connection. There are so many examples of organizations in and around Davidson that help with these concerns and all of that work is much appreciated.

Andrea Nordstrom Caughey

Andrea Nordstrom Caughey is a magazine editor and lifelong writer who hit the jackpot moving to Davidson from California.

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