NJ Teacher of the Year Prepares Students for the Real World
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2018 NJEA Convention to talk to 2018-19 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year and Moris County School of Technology Career and Technical Education Teacher, Jennifer Skomial. Jennifer describes how her classes teach high schoolers how to prepare for the real world and how her experiences have shaped her into the successful teacher she is today.
"What happens when you come to the NJEA convention? You meet the Teacher of the Year. That's right, we got her. We had to go through her people, but we have her right now. She's Jennifer Skomial. Yes. Who is 2018-2019 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, and Career and Technical Education teacher at Morris County School of Technology. How are you doing? Amazingly well. And by the way, when you found out that you were the Teacher of the Year, you thought "what took so long?" No. [laughter] I thought "they've got it wrong!" [laughter] Oh, come on. I did. So, I got an email that said "sorry, but not you". And then the commissioner came to my school and they pulled me into a meeting... The Commissioner of Education? Yeah! Go ahead. I'm sorry I interrupted. Go ahead. Tell the story. So I get called down to the superintendent's office... he says, with a very serious face, but there was something behind those eyes, and he said, "You need to come into this office." And I'm like, "No, no, no, I'm the wrong one!" He says, "Just come into this office." I said, "No, you don't understand. I got the email. It's not me." He says, "I'm telling you to just walk through that door." And when I walked through, the room was filled with people, but the Commissioner of Education greeted me and it was amazing. What did it feel like? Well first, after I convinced him that it wasn't me... [laughter] ... and he convinced me that it was, I just... I just still believe, you know, that I'm here to represent all of the amazing teachers, so it's easier to say that, than it is to think like you were the one chosen. Yeah. I'm just here to represent everyone. Were you born to be a teacher? I think so. Because? I think there is something within you that makes you the one for something like this. Like I don't think I could be in any other career path. I don't think I could wake up every morning excited to go work with my students. I think that this is why I'm in this career path. It was just something within me. Alright, hold on. You were babysitting, you started doing some tutoring? Well, you do all of those things just because it gives you more experience with different age groups and different, you know, different things but... But you knew… Oh yeah. ...that you were going to be... That's why I..."