AYER — Jen Mitton has always loved sharing her knowledge with people and working with kids, but she didn’t immediately get into the traditional education field after college.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, she headed for Georgia’s Sapelo Island to be a field researcher.
“I was a researcher in Georgia and at Yellowstone National Park, but I never felt as passionate as I thought I would feel,” Mitton said. “I realized that I missed sharing knowledge with others and realized that kids are usually a captivated audience, so I decided to get into teaching.”
At this point in her life, Mitton moved to the Florida Keys and taught at an Outdoor Education Center, where she instructed visiting classes of students about marine biology and ecology using hands-on interactive, outdoor techniques.
“I loved that job but wanted to be closer to my Massachusetts home,” Mitton said. “So I moved here and started working for Nature’s Classroom. I loved the fun setting there, but we only taught a few months out of the year, so I decided to try and become a classroom teacher.”
This fall, Mitton is a new Ayer Middle-High School science teacher and she feels that science is a crucial element to a child’s education.
“Science is involved in every aspect of life. People should have at least a basic understanding of science — it’s as important as knowing how to read, write and speak correctly.”
Mitton added, “If I can inspire at least one student to make something out of their life, I will feel like I am doing something beneficial with my life!”
Mitton, who currently lives on a farm in Shirley, is looking forward to partnering with her students’ parents to make this a very successful first year for her and her students.
“I expect parents to be involved in their child’s education, checking to see if they have done their homework or are prepared for a test,” she said. “I feel it’s very important for students to feel like the people in their lives have high expectations of them. I have high expectations of all of my students.”
Just passing her class is not a high enough goal, in Mitton’s opinion.
“I want the kids to truly understand the information that is taught in my classroom.” She added, “I am young and energetic and passionate about science and I hope to spread that energy and passion to as many students as I can.”