“I’m not nervous—I’m just excited to keep learning,” says Jenny Megenney ‘16 ’17 of the start of her career as an English teacher at Citrus Valley High School. A Redlands native and alumna of both the University of Redlands’ College of Arts and Sciences and its School of Education, Megenney will be teaching in the same school district she grew up in.
“I’ll be teaching alongside three English teachers that I had in high school,” she says. “I get to be their colleague now instead of their student.”
Megenney admits that being a teacher wasn’t her original plan. “I originally went to college wanting to be an event planner, ” she says, “then I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair during one of my business courses and realized that I needed to be an English major.”
After speaking with some of her professors and former high school teachers, Megenney set her sights on teaching. “A lot of my classes at the University of Redlands were discussion-based and I want to incorporate that into my teaching methods,” she says. “Especially since I’ll be teaching high school juniors, I want the kids to be able to think for themselves.”
Choosing to attend the University of Redlands wasn’t hard, says Megenney. “I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get the classes I needed at the local public universities,” she says. “I really liked the liberal arts foundation and the ability to work closely with professors and students in other departments apart from my major.”
Megenney says she has her professors to thank for preparing her to be a teacher. “My English professors, Dr. Sharon Oster and Dr. Sheila Lloyd, really challenged me to think differently, and I’m more open-minded because of it,” she says. “During my master’s courses, Philip Mirci taught me more about educational justice, which is one of the aspects of education that interested me in the first place.”
Megenney notes that both undergraduate and graduate programs expanded her own academic interests. “When I was in high school I only liked to read fiction and I hated poetry,” she says. “But now, poetry books are scattered around my own classroom and it’s what I’m most looking forward to teaching.”
In addition to an academic journey, Megenney describes a personal journey throughout her U of R education. “Going to the University of Redlands really made me grow as a person, and my professors were inspiring people who make me want to get up and go teach every day.”