TROY — Poking one’s head inside new language arts and social studies teacher’s Janell Tebbe’s classroom at Van Cleve, visitors and students can see the staples of a classroom, as well as some owls that students have made for her.
“I tell them to make wise decisions, so a few of my students made me owls,” she said.
As a child she loved reading, so much that her mother had to tell her to shut her flashlight off and go to bed. As an adult and teacher, that passion hasn’t gone anywhere.
“I’ve definitely had a love of reading since I was a kid, so I knew it was something I wanted to teach,” she said. “Social studies as well, just because I enjoyed history and learning about events that have gotten us to where we are today and how they connect to our future.”
She knew she wanted to be a teacher in second grade, recalling the impact her teachers had on her and how it helped her realize teaching is what she wanted to do the rest of her life.
“We had to dress up like a teacher for Career Day, so I came in dressed up as what I thought teachers wore,” she said. “I had on a collared shirt, dress pants, carried in a dictionary and an apple and told my class what I wanted to teach.”
Tebbe is natively from Covington and attended Troy Christian schools, where she graduated in 2005.
“I started at Sinclair, worked through college the entire time, and paid my own way,” she said. “I started with my associate’s at Sinclair, went to Wright State, finished my bachelor’s in middle childhood education, and the next week started my master’s program to get my license at Wright State.”
She can teach fourth through ninth grade in any subject and is currently adding a reading endorsement for K-12.
Her first time in Troy schools came when she was student-teaching fifth grade in 2012 and then worked as an intervention assistant for a year. The teachers she met at Heywood were friendly and welcoming, which helped her decide she wanted to work in Troy.
“Honestly, from the time I walked through the doors at Heywood, knew this is where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to teach anywhere else if I didn’t have to,” she said.
After teaching fifth grade in another school district, she accepted a position at Van Cleve. Now, her and her students’ day starts off at 7:15 a.m. with homeroom. Language arts is the first class of the day, followed by three social studies classes and lunch in between.
In class, she gives her students hands-on experiences and allows them to work with partners to learn through interaction. This year, she is incorporating Google drive with her presentations, which her students are using to give presentations on the Washington D.C. trip and what they’re learning.
“I think the atmosphere is one that encourages the kids to take responsibility for themselves,” she said. “I think in elementary school there’s more guidance on what’s expected, but here we’re giving them the tools to figure that out for themselves.”
Tebbe said she believes kids need encouragement and they can all reach their goals, but some might have to work a little harder than others.
“I think they’re all capable of doing more than they realize,” she said. “I have a quote on my wall which says ‘The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary’ and I think kids have to put in a little effort. I have to put in work and effort myself to be successful, so it’s important they do as well.”
Her hope is that her kids will not only have passion and learn, but also that they will know and remember how she encouraged them and made learning fun and that they felt welcome and safe in her class.
In her downtime, she and her husband Kenny, who is a high school teacher and junior high wrestling coach, enjoy getting outside and exploring Troy, spending time with their family and going to sporting events for the students on Kenny’s wrestling team.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.