SRL Connected Educator of the Month: September 2015
Meet Jennifer Overdevest from West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita, California. What first caught our eye was Jennifer’s contagious enthusiasm during the SRL Teacher Workshop. In addition to her dedication and positive attitude, her students were the first to turn in their content for the school year, and she did a fantastic job in sharing her experience with local media outlets. We asked Jennifer a few questions about storytelling and her experiences through SRL.
1. What was your favorite PBS show as a kid?
Sesame Street, of course.
2. If you could swap lives with a journalist for a day, who would it be and why?
Lisa Ling. I feel that her ability to tell a story is an amazing gift. Her stories are about people and when she tells their stories I feel as though she really cares about them as people, not as a subject. To travel the world and meet people and tell their stories would be an amazing job.
3. What do you believe are the benefits of training students to tell stories through video?
For students to take a story and write it on paper is a talent, but adding visual images makes that story have a bigger impact. Visual storytelling is the future and teaching students how to tell stories through visual images will only enhance their future.
4. Why do you believe student voices are important in the news?
Students are the future. I’ve found when you give students a voice they start to care about the issues.
5. While participating in the SRL Teacher Bootcamp, what surprised you the most about yourself?
I was surprised with how much I learned from one three-day workshop. I learned that I am capable of learning new things, including new equipment. I feel that as a teacher I can empathize with my students more now that I’ve been through the Bootcamp. The Bootcamp let me be a student again. Now, as a teacher, I can relate to what my students are going through.
6. What lessons have you learned so far, and how do they inform your teaching?
This summer at the SRL Teacher Bootcamp, I went out with my group to film an interview about the face of the new $10 bill. While filming, I related with the PR person we talked to about not being comfortable in front of the camera. Since I was being honest with her about my own apprehension, she gave in and gave us an interview. I realized at that moment that all people want to do is feel comfortable when giving an interview. I’ve used this story to tell my students not to give up on stories, but find someone who you can relate to when getting interviews.
7. What do you hope to accomplish with SRL?
I hope to bring attention to the importance of elective classes and what I am teaching. I’m hoping my students will understand the importance of having a voice and how they can make a difference in the world using their voice to create stories.