Jennie Fitzkee—Teacher of Teachers

Jennie Fitzkee—Preschool Teacher

One of the unexpected blessings of starting a blog has been interacting with people globally with whom I would have never otherwise crossed paths.  After I had written my book for new and inexperienced teachers, someone asked if I had ever considered starting a blog. I thought to myself, hmm, I could do that, but would anyone care what I have to say about anything?

Two and a half years later, I’m amazed at some of the remarkable people I’ve met. One of those individuals is a magnificent preschool teacher from Groton, Massachusetts, named Jennie Fitzkee. She has been in education for forty years (two of those at kindergarten and the last thirty-eight years as a preschool teacher at Groton Community School).

Jennie is passionate about the benefits of preschool. “Social and emotional development are number one. Children need to learn how to play, make friends, share, take turns, listen to a teacher, follow directions, stick with a task, and of course, listen to reading. If they don’t get that foundation, school will be hard. Then, either apathy or frustration will begin to set in. A child is in for a tough road without the skills gained in preschool.”

I pay attention to educators who share my love for children, learning, and literacy. Jennie hooked me the first time I read one of her blog posts, and I’ve been like a big fish on her line ever since. Even though she is a preschool teacher by day, she educates all of us through her blog. She is a teacher of humans, regardless of age, color, ethnicity, or background. Each of her posts reflects her understanding of children.

One of Jennie’s first directors insisted that the staff write newsletters to their families at least once a month to educate the parents about child development. Like many new ideas, this was at first met with skepticism by some staff members. These bulletins were more than reports of what children were learning. They went into the “what and why” teachers were using specific activities.

Jennie took this idea and, much like an Olympic sprinter, ran with it. Her newsletters became stories about what happened in the classroom and how it related directly to teaching. After a short time, Jennie realized that not every parent had the time or interest to read lengthy newsletters. Like any skilled educator, she changed her approach. She decided to write a short bulletin for her families and a longer and meatier post on her blog for those looking for more. In 2014, her blog began and is still going strong. As of today, she is now approaching 6,000 followers. While they don’t all engage on Jennie’s blog, many of us do.

It would take too long for me to write about the many brilliant things that Jennie does with her children each year. There are sound educational reasons and wisdom behind each thoughtful decision she makes. One of the things her students look forward to each day is “Jennie Stories.” They are so popular with the kids that she has a set time (the students understand it’s time for a Jennie Story at 12:30 when the big hand is on the six.) She goes on to tell engaging stories, sometimes fiction (“Once upon a time”) but more often real (“It happened like this”), that captivate her students. One of her more recent fun ones is her version of a classic fairy tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.” It features Papa T-Rex, Mama Pterodactyl, and Baby Brachiosaurus. Jennie teaches us that lunchtime is not just a time to eat—it’s a time to build community and further bond with her students. They trust her, learn from her, and most importantly, feel loved by her.

Jennie had another incredible “aha moment” when it came to teaching acceptance. Approximately twenty years ago, Jennie’s school and others realized it was critical to introduce the topic of “diversity” into classrooms. Jennie acknowledges this can be challenging in a small-town community like Groton, where 99% of the population is White. How could she teach diversity when nearly everyone looked the same? Instead of focusing on skin color, which might be a natural way to broach the subject, Jennie found her light-bulb moment. She introduced a character to her students that would soon take up permanent residence over the past two decades.

That was the day that Gloria became part of The Aqua Room. Gloria is a doll, but not the type that we usually see. At first, kids may judge her to be an old scary witch. If Jennie had mishandled this teaching moment, her students might even have been frightened by Gloria. Instead, Gloria has become a fantastic teaching tool. Gloria and Jennie show the kids that being different is not something to fear. Differences should be appreciated and celebrated.  Gloria now joins the class every day instead of the occasional appearance. One of the most heartwarming aspects of this story is that she often goes home with the kids on holidays and over the weekend. In true Jennie form, Gloria takes her journal when she travels to write about her adventures.

Gloria
Jennie’s students adore Gloria.

Like everywhere else, Covid meant changes at Jennie’s school. Last year, Groton Community School closed for a time. Did that stop Jennie from giving the gift of herself to her students? Not in the slightest. What do outstanding teachers like her do when the obstacles get harder? They find a way to provide the support their students still need. Jennie knew how important it was to read to her kids, so now the challenge was figuring out a way to keep this happening. She started a YouTube channel and read to the kids. Check out Rapper Jennie performing the children’s story, Goodnight Moon. This is one of my favorite videos of Jennie because she gives her students what they need—music, rhythm, and stories. (It should face right side up when you begin playing.)

Even though Jennie and her husband live in Massachusetts now, she has never forgotten her West Virginia roots. Read Aloud West Virginia was a program started in the early 80s to bring books and volunteers to read aloud to kids at school. When this non-profit group was about to launch its program, respected author Jim Trelease got involved and helped train the staff. Trelease is an American educator and author of the million-copy bestseller, The Read-Aloud Handbook. In his book, Trelease stresses the importance of reading aloud to children to help instill a love for literature. One of Jennie’s most exciting days was when Trelease came to Groton and watched her reading to her class.  

One of the beautiful things that Jennie’s school does is celebrate teaching anniversaries every five years. When Jennie celebrated her 30th school anniversary some years back, she decided to do something big. It bothered her that West Virginia ranked near the bottom in terms of money spent per child in educational dollars, so she and her husband, Steve, decided they wanted to find a way to help. What did they do? They rented a large van, loaded it with books, and drove them from Massachusetts to West Virginia. One of the things Jennie is most proud of is more and more volunteers are getting involved through this program and bringing the joy of reading to kids.

Hundreds of children have benefitted from being in Jennie’s class. She loves it when they come back to visit and sometimes serve as guest readers in her class. Quite understandably, these are moments of great pride for Jennie when she witnesses former students passing on the love of reading to others. She has been to graduations and weddings of former students. It speaks volumes that her former students want her there to share in their big moments.

Jennie had a fantastic experience just a couple of weeks ago when she appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show. Kelly had a surprise announcement for Jennie regarding Read Aloud West Virginia. While Jennie was on the show Kelly announced that Dollar General Literacy Foundation was donating $50,000 to this wonderful program. I got goosebumps watching Jennie’s reaction to this announcement. My favorite moment of the show was watching one of her former students, Eamonn, talk about her and all she has done for him. When Jennie told me she was going on the show, I circled that day on our calendar. My wife and I were watching. It did my heart good for other people to meet my blogging buddy. She is the type of passionate educator who has touched so many people through her commitment. (You have to click the link below to watch Jennie on The Kelly Clarkson Show)

https://www.nbc.com/the-kelly-clarkson-show/video/preschool-teacher-gets-huge-surprise-after-35-years-connecting-kids-with-books/824261977

As far as the future, Jennie will continue to teach children. If it’s not in the classroom, she hopes to do it through writing. She has written two picture books and has been querying agents. I’m starting to query now, so that’s another way we’ve connected. Ever the teacher, Jennie has reminded me that award-winning children’s author, Kate DiCamillo, had 471 rejections before finding an agent. DiCamillo has written many outstanding children’s novels such as Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tiger Rising, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux, Flora and Ulysses, and numerous other outstanding reads.

I feel so blessed to have gotten to know Jennie the past couple of years through our blogs. She is the real deal and someone who brings great honor to the teaching profession. One of my future goals is to make it from California to Massachusetts to meet Jennie and Gloria, be a guest reader in her classroom, and sing This Land is Your Land with her students. Thank goodness for Jennie and all the other educators who bring reading into children’s lives.

129 thoughts on “Jennie Fitzkee—Teacher of Teachers

  1. I think we would all like to be readers in Jennie’s classroom. Pete. Such a nice tribute to a wonderful person.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 3:09 pm

      Jennie’s posts are consistently excellent! I like everything about her teaching style. As I’ve told her many times, she should be teaching classes on child development and how to be a teacher.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Teacher of teachers, indeed! How fortunate we all are to have Jennie Fitzkee… 😍

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 3:10 pm

      Right! Any teacher understands that she is a master of the art of teaching.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. All teachers should have the enthusiasm about teaching like Jennie. Great tribute to her, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 3:12 pm

      Her natural enthusiasm, her love of children, and literacy—it’s all infectious.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Your love for teaching and your colleagues and the students and the parents are very apparent also, Pete!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 7:38 pm

        I worked with some great people. Whenever we surround ourselves with committed people, we’re bound to have some of their positivity rub off on us.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The world needs more teachers like this. I love her creative methods of problem solving and commenting.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 3:42 pm

      In whatever field one works in, we look for those around us who set a high standard. I may no longer be teaching, but I pay attention to what’s going on. A great teacher such as Jennie has such a far-reaching effect.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. She is an extraordinary person and one of my teaching idols –

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 4:40 pm

      She is one of the most genuine people. I think that’s why so many of us admire her.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 7:41 pm

      One of the things that I find most gratifying about blogging is the many fascinating people I have met this way. You and Tony are part of that group, Margie.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful feature for a dedicated teacher! Thank you for sharing her story, Pete!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 7:43 pm

      I’m happy that Jennie got the opportunity to appear on Kelly Clarkson so that others can see how amazing she is.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. what a wonderful tribute. Jennie, like you, is a wonderful role model for teachers, new and experienced. Gloria is such a creative way to teach students about inclusion. And her appearance on Kelly Clarkson was heart-warming and well-deserved. Her students are so lucky…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 7:57 pm

      I know Jennie doesn’t do any of this to bring attention to herself. She has her priorities in order. It’s all about children and promoting reading—a noble ambition.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. two great priorities…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 19, 2021 — 8:51 pm

      Can you imagine all of the children’s lives she has touched in 40 years? I’ve only known her a little over two years, and she has significantly impacted me.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. What a blessing she was to her students!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Jennie is an inspiration for all! I love her!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:00 am

      There are so many great educators doing a great job each day that fly under the radar without getting much attention. I’ll bet that applies to you, too. It’s just great to see when good things happen to good people.

      Like

      1. Thank you, Pete. You’re right, so many fly under the cradle!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Radar, not cradle!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. HI Pete, this is a lovely post about Jennie who is an incredible educator. I think teacher small children is a wonderful opportunity as everything is still new and delightful to them. If you can set them on the right path at that age, they are much more likely to remain on it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:03 am

      We will never forget those inspirational teachers. Some made an impression on me when I was a kid, and others inspired me when I became an adult.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We definitely need more teachers like Jennie. No wonder the children love her!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:04 am

      It’s a bit cliche, but the phrase “like bees to honey” comes to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Again, you have brought us into the life, hopes, and dreams of another exceptional teacher. Well written and full of interesting insights. You have certainly polished your non-fiction delivery into compelling stories.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree, Brad. As I was reading, I was struck by how well-written this post is.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:12 am

        Thank you for the compliment, Liz. Writing fiction and crafting a story that makes sense from start to finish with character and story arcs is an entirely different challenge. Coming from a long line of curious people, wanting to learn and get better at a skill is in my blood.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re welcome, Pete. According to my first fiction professor, a writer doesn’t really master the craft of fiction until his or her forties.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 11:44 am

        Hmm, not sure where that leaves me. I’m in my 60s. Maybe by the time I’m 90. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I would say that part of the mastery of the craft involves gaining enough life experience to write convincingly about the subjects you’re drawn to.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:07 am

      I know I’ve done similar pieces about other people. I assure you my feelings are genuine. I’m one of those guys blessed to have a lot of great people in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s a beautiful tribute to Jennie, Pete – from one inspirational teacher to another. 💖

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:20 am

      Aww, thanks, Norah. As you well know, some educators do a lot of complaining, and others find a way to play the hand they’re dealt and make it work. Jennie is a natural teacher with years of wisdom behind her thoughtful decisions.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. There aren’t many bloggers who bring a lump to my throat but Jennie is one. I’ve no idea what rabbithole I was rummaging in when I first encountered Her Royal Wonderment but I’m delighted I was down there. Same goes for you Mr Springer!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:24 am

      One of the things I thought about when I was writing this piece was how we can find outstanding educators at every level from preschool to graduate-level classes and all places in between.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a splendid project. There’s a myth here than because the school holidays are longer than most jobs it makes teaching easier but every time I talk to teachers and many of my children’s friends have gone into teaching it makes it apparent what a total fiction that is. Possibly after medics and I might debate that teaching is far the most important profession. We need to cherish you guys.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 4:40 pm

        You’re talking to a guy who went into school nearly every weekend during the school year for 31 years. Many teachers also work behind the scenes during the summer getting things ready for the school year. When I wasn’t doing that, I used to paint houses in the summer for 20 years. We weren’t exactly living in poverty, but I knew that was a necessity if we were going to put our son through college.

        Like

  14. Jennie sounds like an amazing persona and a dedicated teacher. What a difference she is making in young lives!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:31 am

      One of Jennie’s most significant accomplishments is turning all of these young minds on to reading. I loved that Kelly Clarkson got a chance to speak to one of her former students, now an adult, to better understand the impact Jennie makes.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. You’re right, Jennie is the real deal…this is a fine tribute and accounting of her life’s outlook and love’s output.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:32 am

      Her natural enthusiasm for kids, books, and learning is so inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for another wonderful story about an inspirational teacher. It speaks volumes that Jenny has ongoing relationships with so many of her former students, and her rapping skills aren’t bad, either! Sadly, the Kelly Clarkson video isn’t available here, but I’m sure it is a tearjerker!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:34 am

      Dang! I have tried several times to embed the video, and I can’t get it to work even though I’m using the same link I found on Jennie’s site. It’s another one of those technology things that I don’t understand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t the newish embed block in the block editor work? I guess it’s something to do with the network and how they allow their clips to be shared. I tried seeking it out on YouTube but couldn’t find it there, either. A pity. And please apologise to Jennie for misspelling her name in my earlier comment!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 10:15 am

        I’ve used it before, and it usually works quite well. Looks like I’ll continue my love/hate relationship with technology.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know how you feel!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. This is an excellent post paying tribute to an exceptional teacher and human being. This section in particuar stood out: “Even though she is a preschool teacher by day, she educates all of us through her blog. She is a teacher of humans, regardless of age, color, ethnicity, or background.” Reading Jennie’s blog posts gives me hope for the future–and that’s saying a lot for this moment in time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:38 am

      Hope—something we can never have enough of. With all of the negativity in the world, it’s a good reminder that there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading Jennie’s blog, as well as yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. I am always happy I discovered Jennie’s blog!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 9:39 am

      That makes two of us, and we know there are far more than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Wonderful post about an exceptional teacher, Pete!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 10:56 am

      Exceptional is exactly the right word. Thanks for reading, Becky.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. What a great tribute to our friend Jennie. She is one in a million.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 3:49 pm

      Good call, Darlene! We’re fortunate to know her.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Like you, I’ve met many fabulous people via my blog. Thanks for introducing us to Jennie. I must say Gloria is adorable as a doll and a vehicle for teaching diversity. I’ve always known that excellent educators are a bit on the “crazy” side. The video proves that to be so! Huge thanks, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 3:54 pm

      I’ve got to warn you, Marian. If you check out her blog, you’ll be hooked. It’s filled with wisdom and observations about children. As long as I taught, I understand we can always learn something from others who work with kids.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. I saw Jennie’s interview on Kelly’s show, and it highlighted her kindness and dedication to kids. She’s a wonderful role model for future generations.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 20, 2021 — 10:03 pm

      As a teacher, I’m naturally drawn to other teachers who get children and have nothing but their best interests at heart. The fact that so many of Jennie’s former students come back to visit her says all we need to know about how they feel about her. She’s a remarkable teacher and person.

      Liked by 3 people

  23. Pete… I don’t think there are words powerful enough to express my gratitude and my joy. ‘Thank you’ seems far too tiny. You are Charlotte and I am Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web”; you wrote about your dear friend who is some pig, and I feel radiant, humble, and terrific. Best to you, Charlotte. Love, Wilbur.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 9:12 am

      Doesn’t it say a lot about Charlotte’s Web and E.B. White that a teacher from preschool and another who taught in grades 2-6 read this book to their students every year? We each knew what a gem of literature this book was and how to use it to teach life lessons from it to children.

      Thanks for being some pig, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It most definitely says a lot about E.B. White, good literature, and what we both do with reading aloud to children. I love that we do the same thing! Yes, we teach life lessons through great books. Thank you, Charlotte, my dear friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    I am honored to be a guest on Pete Springer’s blog. Thank you, Pete, for the wonderful tribute. You are like Charlotte the spider, a dear friend who wrote about ‘some pig’. I am like Wilbur the pig, feeling terrific, radiant, and very humble. In the words of Wilbur to Charlotte (thank you, E.B. White), “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I don’t know how I found Jenny’s blog. I don’t have children. But I know that they are our future and she is one of the few people giving them the tools to make that future bright. I enjoy her words immensely.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 8:44 am

      One of the beauties of blogging is how we cross paths with someone we would never have known otherwise. We’re all the better for meeting Jennie. Each one of her posts teaches us something about life.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. A great tribute to a wonderful, inspirational lady. Nobody deserves it more.
    Every school should have a Jennie!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 8:52 am

      The far-reaching effect of an outstanding teacher is hard to measure. I think back to my years as a student and realize some years are filled with great memories, and others are blank. The incredible thing about Jennie is she educates the rest of us while teaching her students.

      Liked by 2 people

  27. What a fantastic tribute, Pete. I wish I had had her as my teacher!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 8:53 am

      When I grow up, I want to be Jennie Fitzkee. 😊 Thanks for reading, Noelle.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I grow up, I want to be Pete Springer.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for featuring Jennie, Pete. I love to see teachers get props.
    In one of my old blog serials, I gave nods to several of my own early school teachers. The story had a lot of characters, and I gave many of them surnames of my old teachers. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 8:58 am

      What a fun way to pay tribute to them. Could you send me the link, Teagan? I’d enjoy reading that. I used to write skits that my class and I would perform at assemblies. It was a fun way to further bond with them.

      Like

  29. Helllooo, Jennie. Thanks to Peter, I’m meeting you now. And you and I live not that far from each other, as I live in the Boston area. And I love going to Gibbet Hill for a special treat (you know what I mean). One of my good friends was a pre-school teacher for 40 years in Westford. I have a high regard for pre-school teachers, and truly think it’s one of the most challenging jobs out there, as well as rewarding. Congrats on Pete’s highlighting you here. And congrats, Pete, for highlighting the value of pre-school teachers like Jennie. Much luck to both of you in your publishing process.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello! It’s good to meet someone close by. If Pete and his wife get to Massachusetts, we will definitely go to Gibbet Hill. Please say thank you and hello to your friend who taught preschool in Westford for 40 years. Wow!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 4:43 pm

      One of the coolest things about the blogging world is connecting people who need to know one another. I’m happy to bring you two gems together, Pam and Jennie. My work here is done.🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  30. P.S. Is there a link to Jennie’s blog? Thankss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 4:46 pm

      I’m falling down on the job, Pam.😉 https://jenniefitzkee.com/
      You are going to be so impressed with Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Such an amazing tribute, Pete! How funny we both posted about Jennie in the same week! Great minds do think alike (at least I hope so)! 💓 I have such a soft spot for teachers because I’ve only met amazing teachers in my life- one of which you might remember really affected me greatly and another one inspired me to be a lifelong reader and book lover. I think there’s something so magical about teachers- some of which I bet don’t even realize how much positive impact they are making on kids’ lives. Sometimes that one great teacher can be the only lifeline a child needs to feel hopeful… You and Jennie certainly embody that power of influence and deserve all the recognition out there! 💗

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 21, 2021 — 8:17 pm

      Teachers get a lot of grief, so I like spreading the love a little bit, especially with those teachers like Jennie who totally get what kids need. I always looked at my job as an investment in the future because our children are worth fighting for.

      Great job on your article! I loved it!

      Liked by 2 people

  32. Your friend Jennie’s brilliance feels like magic Pete. Her perfect ideas come to her and then they are the exact right approach to reach and teach her children. Who would have thought of a YouTube channel to read to her students? Who would ever think to turn a doll that is a witch into lessons on diversity? Talk about a calling. What an amazing person. Massachusetts is lucky to have her, but it’s nice that she also reached a huge audience on a national T.V. show! She’s one-in-a-million Pete. Thanks so much for sharing her story here.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 22, 2021 — 1:07 pm

      As you know, Melanie, some posts are more fun to write than others. Everything Jennie does is with a purpose—something to benefit her students, often in creative ways. I could go on and on about her. She has posted before about kids returning to visit. From a teacher’s perspective, those are special moments. It’s a child’s way of saying, “Look at me, and what I am becoming.” It’s one of the best post-teaching feelings ever.

      Liked by 2 people

  33. Thanks for highlighting the wonderful work of one of my favorite bloggers and teachers. I’ve often said that I wish I could go back and have her for a teacher.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 24, 2021 — 9:33 am

      As a retired educator, I find myself nodding my head as I read Jennie’s posts. She has a gift for understanding what’s most important for children and then delivering.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Hi Pete, How wonderful to learn so much about Jennie’s work and wonderful contribution. A real educator. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 25, 2021 — 8:40 am

      Never stop learning and teaching—Jennie is the master. It was a kick to see her on television. She was exactly how I pictured she’d be—full of enthusiasm.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Wow, I had to scroll far to comment Pete, you popular guy. But understandable considering Jennie’s many attributes and accolades. Wonderful toast to Jennie, Pete. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 25, 2021 — 8:59 pm

      I’m not surprised that so many have responded to this post. Jennie is the secret sauce that inspires so many others. I’m interested in what she writes about from being an educator and because her topics resonate with me. Thanks for dropping by to leave your comments, Debby.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubts you’re interested Pete. And I couldn’t agree more with you about Jennie. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Wonderful tribute Pete and I think we would have all loved to have Jennie as our first teacher, setting us on the road to success.. even in my 60s, Jennie is an inspiration and her positive approach to life and her dedication is a lesson to us all.. xxc

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2021 — 8:31 am

      When I think back to my educational career, there have been a few teachers who made me want to do my best. I did not want to let them down. Sadly, there were some who made no impression at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe it is the same in most work environments Pete… disappointing but thank goodness for those who inspire..xx

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please read this wonderful post by the excellent teacher, Jennie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2021 — 11:30 am

      Thank you for the reblog, Charles! Jennie is one of these educators who teaches us all, regardless of age. While her expertise in the world of children and children’s books is particularly noteworthy, she connects with everyone with her energy and passion.

      Like

  38. I’ve been a Jennie follower and fan for years now, Pete, and I’ve come to anticipate posts about the starting of her school year, her love of reading aloud, and the projects that light up her student’s eyes. It’s no surprise that she’s garnered some acclaim!. She’s amazing and such an inspiration. Thanks for highlighting this wonderful teacher and person.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2021 — 3:47 pm

      I know Jennie has many fans, but I wanted to bring some attention to her for those who might not know her. She is an absolute gem with children. I looked forward to someday meeting her and reading to her class.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 28, 2021 — 1:31 pm

      Thank you, Sally, for helping to recognize a fabulous educator. It is teachers like Jennie who not only influence kids but the rest of us as well.

      Like

  39. Thank you for featuring Jennie! We need all of you very unselfish working teachers for building a better future. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 29, 2021 — 10:37 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Michael. I’m retired now, but I’m drawn to teachers (like Jennie), who are still out there changing lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know Pete! But also in retirement you are a treasure for others. Thanks for your engagement, and enjoy a nice weekend! xx Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Jenny is a special person and an extraordinary teacher. These children who have her as a PS teacher are starting out blessed more than they realize now. She gives them a strong foundation of reading and learning that is above and beyond what most schools offer because the don’t have Jenny Fitzkee! I wish we could clone her and have one Jenny in every school across the nation. We would have a whole generation of readers and thinkers for sure. Congrats, Jenny, for your appearance on Kelly Clarkson’s Show. I will have to watch it. God bless you for all you do to make learning fun for children. Keep going, girl!! You rock!!! 🤗 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 29, 2021 — 6:15 pm

      Amen to everything you wrote, Janice! We can’t have enough teachers like Jennie. I think my favorite posts from her are about former students who regard her so highly that they come back to visit. As a retired teacher, I can tell you that those are some of the best feelings a teacher ever has.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree. I worked in a school as a teacher’s aide and a secretary and I knew who were the most dedicated teachers by the way the children acted when I was in the rooms. I apologize for not mentioning you and your lovely post. Thank you, Pete, for showcasing Jenny. Thank you for you service and dedication to children too. 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 30, 2021 — 8:47 am

        No need to apologize, Janice. I didn’t write this to get any attention. It was an opportunity to highlight my blogging friend, Jennie. Great point about how children flock to the teachers who care the most.

        Like

  41. Excellent to read your article. Thank you. Regarding “Jennie is passionate about the benefits of preschool. “Social and emotional development are number one. Children need to learn how to play, make friends, …” “, in the late 1940s I lived on an island with my older sister, sea-creatures and birds our playmates. My sister started school by correspondence but I “waited-out” till we moved to the mainland. We never experienced preschool and I well-recognise the benefits. For ever it seemed I battled with shy-ness, could scarce deal with groups of strangers until I started playing chess and becoming a Friend of Antiquity this century! although Travel in the late 1980s posed as initiation towards gaining confidence. Cunningly however, it still claimed periods even ten years ago. Hopefully next year when we’re permitted beyond our state borders to travel overseas (after 20 months of not), I’ll be braved-up to open my mouth in a different tongue on a well-anticipated shore!
    Jennie’s use of the doll Gloria was good and sort of related to the guinea pigs my children experienced in their small country-school classroom and also, like Gloria, went home with a child for holidays.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor November 2, 2021 — 8:48 am

      My wife was a preschool teacher and director, so I’ve long heard about the many benefits of preschool. (Not that I needed any convincing.) Parents over the years asked me what I thought of homeschooling. I think it’s fine academically, but I believe that children do miss out on some of the social benefits of school, including the skill of learning to work with others. I had rats rather than guinea pigs in my classroom for many years. I would send them home with the kids over short breaks.

      I hope that you get to experience travel overseas soon. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. powerful & fun — love this! tx Pete for passing along 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 3, 2021 — 1:20 pm

      Jennie is a rock star in my book. Anyone who’s followed her blog will tell you the same. Few people understand children’s needs better than her.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And thank you da-AL for liking my comment to Peter 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  43. Pete, I’m a bit late to comment but I wanted to commend you on a wonderful post about one of our favorite people, Jennie. I think she’s lifted all of us in this blogging universe who have been fortunate to know her. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 22, 2022 — 12:38 pm

      Her positivity and understanding of children make her a fabulous educator. I had the great fortune of working for a few extraordinary educators over the years. Jennie and I would have loved working together because our philosophies jive so well. This is a piece I wrote about one of my other favorite people in education: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/14/the-gift-that-keeps-giving/

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close