Ward, a math instructor, named Troup High’s teacher of the year

Published 10:53 am Friday, December 22, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The LaGrange Daily News is doing a Q&A with all of the teachers of the year in the Troup County School System. Today we are writing about Jennifer Ward, a math teacher at Troup High School. We asked 20 questions, and we’ve shortened this interview to some of our favorite responses.

Ward has worked in the Troup County School System for 25 years, with the last 18 being at Troup High School.

She’s married to Ernest Ward and has four children — a Point University graduate; Justis, a Mercer graduate; Haylee, a junior at West Point Military Academy; and Elijah, a senior at Troup High School.

She also serves as the school’s ninth-grade volleyball coach and an advisor for Interact, a volunteer club. She said the club has participated in events like West Point Lake Clean-Up and helped with Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners to show the importance of community support for the homeless, disenfranchised, marginalized and the vulnerable.  She’s the math department chair and teaching mentor, which allows her to provide guidance to new educators.

Q: What or who inspired you to become an educator?

A: Growing up in a family of educators and influenced by my spouse, who is a teacher, I followed a familial path into education. With a mathematics degree, my passion for guiding students through academics is driven by this rich background.

Q: If you weren’t teaching, what career field would you be in?

A: The vision of being a nurse aligns with my innate desire to care for people.  This inclination toward empathy aligns seamlessly with the nurturing aspects inherent in both teaching and nursing.

Q: If your teaching style had a theme song, what would it be?

A: “White Flag” by Dido symbolizes my unwavering commitment to students. The resilience depicted in the song mirrors my refusal to give up on any student, regardless of the challenges they face.

Q: What’s the most creative project one of your classes has worked on?

A: Although not entirely unique, I’ve undertaken a budgeting project that delves into students’ values and decision-making abilities, considering a specific level of education and income. This project provides a practical perspective, promoting critical thinking and essential life skills. Additionally, it grants me insight into their priorities, willingness to make sacrifices, and non-negotiables.

Q: If you could choose any historical figure to speak to your class, who would you choose and why?

A:  I would choose Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician. Pythagoras is well-known for the Pythagorean Theorem, a fundamental concept in geometry. His insights into the relationships between the sides of a right-angled triangle have significant applications in various mathematical fields. Bringing Pythagoras into a math class would allow students to appreciate the historical

Q: What did it mean to be named your school’s teacher of the year?

A: Peer recognition as Teacher of the Year is a profound honor, signifying the acknowledgment of consistent efforts in creating a positive and impactful learning environment. It reflects not only a passion for teaching but also the positive relationships cultivated within the school community.