Teacher Feature: Madison's Jessica Parlett Saenz
At Madison High School, there is a classroom filled with laughter, family pictures and quotes from The Office.
“Sitting in here with a classroom of kids is the best thing. These are my people. This is where the good stuff happens.”
AP English teacher Jessica Parlett Saenz loves her job. But more importantly, she loves her students. Just spending a few minutes in her classroom, you can tell the students love her too. They are attentive when she gives instructions, tell jokes as she weaves between rows of desks, and they know where she stashes her snacks. And she’s more than happy to share with them.
“I work really hard at the beginning of the year to just get to know kids because I am never going to be able to teach them well if they don’t trust me and I don’t trust them. So, we joke around. We like to learn the ins and outs of what’s going on. And we actually get really close.”
Those connections – that closeness – is just as important as learning about literature and sonnets. Parlett Saenz wants her students to leave her classroom as better people. It’s a style of teaching she’s seen since she first stepped foot on a North East ISD campus.
“I started going to school at Redland Oaks Elementary School right when it first opened. Then, I went to Driscoll Middle School and graduated from MacArthur High School in 2003. Mr. Coward was my first-grade teacher; he inspired my path into education. His excitement in the classroom instilled a lifelong learner in me and created the drive to do that for others. I instantly knew that I wanted to share my love of learning with others in the hopes that I would be able to inspire one person the way he inspired me. But really all of my teachers worked to create relationships with me that showed me that teaching is much more than just teaching. It’s about helping kids grow and learn how to reflect in order to be better humans.”
Maybe that’s why, after 15 years at Madison, Parlett Saenz does more than just teach AP English. She spends extra time with students as a PALS Sponsor, a Senior Class Sponsor and Spirit Sponsor. She’s finding all the ways she can make connections with students so that when they graduate, they are ready to take greatness into the world and maybe even back to NEISD classrooms.
“I get emails sometimes from former students that say, ‘Hey, I am now teaching at North East too.’ It’s humbling. From first grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and to hear kids say, ‘I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to be like you,’ it’s humbling and exciting.”
Thank you, Jessica Parlett Saenz, for connecting with kids and making a real difference #theNEISDway
posted on: 01/17/2023