Anderson makes a difference in and out of classroom


Photo courtesy Jennifer Anderson

Hanging out in one of her favorite places in the world, English teacher Jennifer Anderson admits two of her favorite things are butterflies and Puerto Rico.

Alissa Martinez, Staff Writer

With the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, students can still forget and not fully understand the hard work and dedication that it takes to be a teacher. All the long nights of grading papers, early mornings, and stressful weeks, teachers sacrifice so much time to help students. One teacher who does so, and does it well, is Jennifer Anderson, who happens to be an English teacher at Fuquay-Varina High School, showing much love and dedication to her students on a daily basis

Although Anderson is known by students for being very extroverted and outgoing, she sees herself in a very different light. She shares, “I’m a little shy about being featured in an article. I don’t like people ‘looking at me’ in general, if that makes sense.” Anderson always uses her fun personality to help students feel encouraged and excited to learn, and it’s odd for anyone who has ever had the privilege of being her student to see her as an introverted person.

While having a fun personality, she also has very fun and unique hobbies. “ I love to paint furniture, and I’m always exploring new techniques and taking on projects,” she said. “I am currently working on a jewelry cabinet with a flamingo theme.” Her hobbies definitely help her stay creative and on her toes, which is a perfect way to let her express herself in ways that she can’t get a chance to do so in the classroom. 

Not only does she love painting furniture, Anderson also has a deep love for butterflies, often going to conventions every year to see them fly in action. “When I decided to start breeding them, I did a lot of Googling and found the International Butterfly Breeders Association,” she explains. “I’ve made friends and learned a lot through that community.” 

Anderson speaks about butterflies, and how complex the insect can truly be. “You know how butterflies look when they fly? It’s not smooth; they’re just flopping through the air and getting flipped by the wind,” she depicted with such depth. “But there they are… soaring away. That’s how I see myself bumbling through life, somehow getting through.” 

Anderson expresses the struggles she has endured during her years of teaching, “My first day with any new group of students is very stressful for me, and that has never changed,” she said. “I think that is mostly because of my personality type. I am an introvert, and I don’t like meeting new people. It stresses me out. Once I have met the students, I am pretty relaxed.” 

Although the beginning is challenging, Anderson always shows much excitement and cheerfulness to her students on a daily basis. Always brightening up students’ day, she truly helps students learn in fun and exciting ways. “Her lessons are very humorous, and I really admire that. She seems to actually care about how we do, and I feel a connection with her,” shared Logan Hinnant, a junior currently taking her AP Language class. 

As a way to destress, she reflects back to her vacation she took to beautiful Puerto Rico. “I freakin love that little island, with all its faults and quirks and hurricanes and earthquakes and potholes and power outages,” she recalled. “The people are generous and resilient and fun. But the best thing about every time I go is that I remember how little I need in order to be happy.”

 Always just wanting to brighten someone’s day, Anderson will continue to be an impactful and important figure in her students’ lives, allowing students to grow and learn freely, without judgment, and helping to guide them along the way. Her fun-loving personality will definitely leave a mark on not just her students, but on everyone she encounters on a daily basis. Anderson is truly a special person and deserves to be given much recognition and appreciation for all the hard work she has put in throughout the years. 

See this as a reminder to say thank you to any teacher who has helped you in any way. Teachers do so much for us and understanding them and the work they do every day will help you to appreciate so much more.. 

Thinking back on her years of teaching, Anderson recalled the best parts of her day when it comes down to the impact she has on students. “Sometimes, I am going about my day like in the grocery store or out somewhere, and someone approaches and says ‘OMG! It’s you!’, and then I know I am/was important in somebody’s life,” she said.