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Featuring Janey Layman '82
JaneyLayman
Position: Business & Computer Science Teacher
School: Southmoreland School District
Location: Pennsylvania
(Profiled: November 2011)

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?
♦  What attracted you to this position?
♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

How did you connect with this job opportunity?
I had been feeling the calling to go back to education quite strongly when my cousin called me to tell me of an open position for a Technology Coordinator for the district. I applied but DIDN’T get the position. Of course, I was really bummed because I thought that I was supposed to be back in education. However, two weeks after that a business education teacher moved to another school district, and I quickly applied for that job because, you see, THAT was the job I really wanted to begin with! You never know what the Lord has in store for you!

What attracted you to this position?
I had taught at GCC for nine years before going into the corporate world and I really, really missed working with students as well as using my gifts and talents in education. My parents and sister both taught high school and every time they talked about their jobs or something at school, I just felt the need to be there. I missed the kids, the laughter, the craziness of a school!

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
I would have to say the most gratifying aspect of my job is when I can do a really out-of-the-box project with my students. I love when they see what they can really accomplish like running a large, very unique golf tournament to running a small business. I always try to give the students something very creative, fun, and a chance that they’d never get anywhere else. This year we’re going to try to put together a life-size Monopoly tournament for charity. It’s a blast to bring real world applications into my curriculum.

What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
I hate to say it, but my first year as a teacher was at GCC as an associate professor, only a year older than some of my students, but I worked my tail off to keep up! So I’d have to say the amount of work that any teacher has to do the first year they teach any new course or at any school is always fraught with lots of challenges. Since that day so very many years ago, education has changed dramatically with the testing requirements. It’s still tough to make my field relevant and necessary when the State doesn’t think it as important as I do!

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
Remember that I graduated in 1982, a MUCH different time in education! The most awesome thing about GCC was the fact that I was able to be mentored by an incredible teacher and professor, Dr. Nancy Houston, who inspired me to do great things. She not only took a personal interest in me, but she encouraged me to continue my education and gave me the opportunity to work with her on a daily basis. When I wanted to quit my student teaching experience, she was the one who reminded me daily that I could do this, and that I had a wonderful future in education. That real relationship with your professors is what you don’t find anywhere else!

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
DON’T go by the book! Use that book only as a reference, period. Think of what helps you and how you learn. Find creative and alternative ways to liven up your classroom. Dream big, let your students feel, experience, and LIVE what you are teaching them whether it’s math, English, or PhysEd. Think of your classroom like a world that you are opening up to your students. Make it come alive, really. Be different, go overboard, model exactly what you want your students to be!

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
I think that the most important job searching tip I could give would have to be to work in the “real world” doing something else first that relates to your field. You will have such a better and deeper appreciation for what your students need to know and you will have a network of contacts that you’ll need for some project somewhere along the line.

In addition, I’d have to say that you NEVER know where the Lord will lead you. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a job in any capacity because you never know where that could lead. Remember that I always wanted to teach high school my entire life and teach college after that, but if I would have had my way, I would NEVER be where I am now. So many students would never have had the opportunities they have because now because of the contacts I’ve made along the way and the experiences I’ve been blessed to have. I would also never have the skills I have now because of the way my life has turned out.

When I stop to look back, I can see the reasons why I was put in different positions, how I learned all the skills I needed to learn, and how my past experiences come to life every day for my students. The details are truly unbelievable. Follow the Lord’s leading and you’ll always choose the right path even if you don’t think it is as the moment!

Janey has also won numerous awards:
♦  Disney Hand Teacher of the Year in Applied Sciences,
♦  Member of the USA Today Teacher Team,
♦  Japan Fulbright Teacher Award,
♦  Radio Shack Technology Teacher Award,
♦  Downtown Disney A+ Teacher Award,
♦  PA Teacher of the Year from the Teachers Insurance Group

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