While on a full research fellowship at NYU working towards her doctorate in education, Lauren Jensen decided her heart was in the classroom—as well as her hometown of Glen Cove, New York, after nine years of teaching in Virginia.
As a 10th- and 12th-grade English Language Arts teacher at Glen Cove High School, Jensen’s passion for education and high standards motivates students to aim higher. Her no-nonsense, student-centered instruction considers various learning styles and is grounded in exploring larger themes that encourage students to ask and discuss the “big question.” Jensen’s desire to see her students succeed fosters a sense of community in the classroom. Students feel safe enough to take risks and trust each other for feedback.
Self-assessment is an important part of Jensen’s unique teaching method, too. She believes students should take some responsibility in monitoring their own academic improvements. Students keep track of writing assignments using individual portfolios, which include written feedback from Jensen, peers and themselves. Her students have come to believe that no project or writing piece is truly “finished,” and as a result they are always looking for ways to improve. At the end of the school year, each student revises a self-selected piece to demonstrate his or her growth as a writer.
Jensen is fully committed to her students’ active engagement in their education. She motivates them to draw connections between texts and the real world by creating podcast book reviews, developing lesson plans and other project-based learning techniques.
When her two honors classes had t-shirts made that said, “I survived Ms. Jensen’s class,” it was both tongue-in-cheek and a source of pride. Jensen’s students leave her classroom ready for higher education. Several have gone on to become teachers and journalists, citing her influence.
As the district writing coach, Jensen serves the Glen Cove community through the design of professional development targeting writing goals across elementary school curriculum. She has shared best teaching practices statewide and nationally with an emphasis on implementing writing across curriculum and was featured in a state-produced video highlighting her work as an exemplar for Common Core Learning Standards.
Jensen graduated magna cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2002 and earned her master of arts in The Teaching of English from Columbia University Teachers College in 2008.
"To me, it's really important to hold high standards [for my students]. I think sometimes kids don't hold those high standards for..." (read more)