Building a well-rounded student is every teacher’s goal, according to Jennifer Cogle, an English Language Arts teacher at Shepherdstown Middle School.
“In every school, you will find it full of individuals that want to make a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. You will see teachers going above and beyond to ensure success for their students. The teacher and student relationships that are formed in the classroom are what make West Virginia education so successful. We all are constantly learning, re-learning, and testing out new strategies and programs to help our students be the best that they can be,” Cogle said. “Whether it is through clubs, sports, academics, spirit days or other school events, wherever students are found, you will also see dedicated teachers encouraging them to become great.”
As a teacher for all middle school grade levels, Mrs. Cogle said she gets to see the sixth graders grow, learn, and mature to respectful, intelligent, and capable eighth graders ready to take on high school.
“Throughout the last few years, I have been contacted to help former students with college applications, essays, and resumes. These skills are touched on in our eighth-grade curriculum, and it is so wonderful to see the same students that once may have not taken the lessons seriously, come back to their middle school ELA teacher to help guide them in their success for post-secondary schooling. Seeing them list all their accomplishments and goals for the future in their college applications gives me incredible pride in my former students. It shows that the lessons we teach our students may not seem like they make a difference at that very moment, but they will stay with them a lot longer than we may see.”
Growing up, Mrs. Cogle said she was very active in the 4H program that includes a week-long camping program for ages 7-21. As she entered the later years of her 4H camping career, she chose to be a camp counselor for the younger campers. She said it was during that week when she was asked to teach a class to her fellow campers, she truly understood the intrinsic rewards of being a teacher.
“From that moment on, I knew that it was meant to be. I chose to be an English Language Arts teacher to help students learn all they can be and share my love of literature, writing, and books with my students. There were so many great teachers that I had growing up that inspired me to learn and love literature and all that goes with reading a book.”
Mrs. Cogle said she hopes to instill that joy of reading to her students while holding them to high standards of academics so they can learn to expand their knowledge and gain confidence in their learning.
“My favorite part of my job is finding books that students enjoy reading through small literature groups where students get to have a say in their learning by choosing a book that fits their personality, reading levels, and interests. When students are invested in their assignments in a class, it is very rewarding to see the outcome of a student enjoying a book and asking to read more.”
Mrs. Cogle began working in Jefferson County Schools in 2012 after graduating from Shepherd University with a degree in elementary education. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Cogle can be found at home with her husband and two children playing, reading books, or creating works of art worthy of the refrigerator. She enjoys supporting WVU football in Morgantown every Saturday in the fall and volunteering her time to the local 4H club as a club leader year-round.