GMercyU Jenna Caffarello Education Alumna

Meet Jenna Caffarello

Education, 2016

"I really think by having people believe in us here, we believe in others the rest of our lives."

I went to North Penn High School which is huge. I didn't I know every student or every teacher and I'm pretty sure every teacher did not know me. I was just a number there. Going to GMercyU for my campus visit, I already felt like I knew everybody. I met some of the professors at the School of Education shadowing day and it felt like home. It was my first campus visit and I already knew I didn't need to look anywhere else. I felt like more than just a number. I felt like a family member.

If it wasn't for the professors I don't think I would have ended up the teacher I am today. They really instilled in us a confidence that we can do anything that we put our mind to. There was never a second-guessing if I wanted to be in this major. They made you feel that this was the right choice for you. Whether I was doing my first lesson presentation as a freshman or student-teaching as a senior, I never felt unsure about my major choice or if I wanted to be a teacher. Getting to spend time with my classmates since freshmen year was a huge benefit. I made some of the best friends I could ever ask for. It's a really proud feeling and amazing to see everyone's journey.

My experience in the classroom helped prepare me for my student-teaching placements. Luckily, I did my pre-student-teaching and student teaching at the same school which was Our Lady of Confidence in Willow Grove, Pa. I wasn't really sure how student teaching at a Catholic school would be since I hadn't been in a Catholic school, other than GMercyU, since third grade. I think the fact that they didn't have such a strict curriculum expanded my creativity as a teacher and I was able to do things that I wouldn't be able to do in a public school. Getting that side of the experience really helped me develop creativity, differentiation with each student and utilize the needs of each student.

My second placement was in the Norristown School District which was a public school. I shifted back into that heavy curriculum which exposed me to the other side of teaching. My teacher was a proctor for PSSAs during my time there so I didn't have her around as much. I took on that classroom full-throttle. It was really rewarding because I felt like the students looked to me before they looked to the teacher because I spent so much time with them.

In between classes and student-teaching, I was also a four-year member of the women's tennis team. Being on the tennis team really gave me both the college life and the academic life. It kept me balanced and kept me focused. Getting to be captain for two years was pretty exciting because it helped with my leadership skills. When I found out how many wins the team had before I came here, I asked if they were sure they wanted me. I knew college sports was a whole other dimension. Being a part of the team that had eight championships was a whole new feeling.

Being a Distinctive Mercy Graduate does not stop once you graduate. It's something that continues no matter what career path you choose especially being in education. I really think by having people believe in us here, we believe in others the rest of our lives.