Lower School Boys Teacher, Pre-K.
Jennifer graduated from Springside School in 2001 and started teaching at SCH Academy in 2006.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I always knew that I wanted to work with children in some capacity. I started babysitting at age 12 and have always enjoyed being around children, helping them learn and grow. As the daughter of two educators, teaching was in my blood. My mother, Hope Parker, was the director of a childcare center for over 15 years before coming to work in the dining hall at Springside. And my father, Stan Parker, was a teacher at CHA, then SCH, for 44 years. Following in their footsteps, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher as well!
What attracted you to teach at SCH?
SCH has always been a second home and a second family to me. As a third-generation alumna, and second-generation teacher, my family has deep-rooted ties to the school and the community. I remember running the halls of the Inn as a small child, playing hide and seek with my brother, Bill Parker ’97, in the old Junior Corner with the high-walled benches. I remember running laps on the raised track in the old gymnasium, spinning the wheel and playing on the wooden firetruck on the old CHA playground—all before I was even old enough to attend school!
As a student, I remember the care and concern that faculty shared for me. I remember the school traditions of Blue and Gold Day, decked out in gold spirit wear, Homecoming with senior dads singing Who “Let the Dads Out?” to the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and Song Night. I remember the athletics, the friends, and the growth I made throughout each season. Some of the teachers I had as a student who made such a difference in my life are still here at SCH, making differences in the lives of the next generation. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of the memories and life-changing growth and learning for the next generation. And who knows… maybe some day one of my students will decide to be a teacher like me!
What do you enjoy most about teaching and why?
What I enjoy most about teaching is knowing that I am affecting children’s lives, for the long term. While the academics that we teach in Pre-K are important, the life lessons that happen are invaluable. Teaching the boys to be kind friends, problem solvers, classroom citizens, community members, innovators, thinkers, challengers— these are the lessons and skills that are going to stick with them forever and lead them to be successful human beings. Being a Pre-K teacher, I get the pleasure of watching these children grow, not only during the time they are in my classroom, but for the six years they are in Lower School, and beyond. My first Pre-K class graduated in 2019 and I was so incredibly proud of the young men those sweet four-year-old boys grew into. From here on out, I will have taught at least one graduating senior in each class, and will get the pleasure of seeing the young men they have grown to be!
Is there some object in your office or on your desk that has special significance to you?
On my desk, hidden in the corner, is a framed card from my Dad. It has a special personal note written inside that I cherish deeply. On top of that is a small two-inch by two-inch card from Bridget Blake, former Parents’ Association president, and her son Bryce ’29. Bryce delivered that card, along with a bouquet of flowers, on the first day of school the fall after my father passed away. Inscribed in that card are the words, “He is with you today and every day.” The yearly flower delivery from the Blake family is a reminder that what we do as teachers and our interactions with students are so important. They impact these children for a lifetime, well beyond the nine months they are in our classroom. The two cards on my desk are a constant reminder of why I began this journey... following in my father’s footsteps and hoping each day to make him proud, and become half the teacher he was.