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The End of a chapter for Ms. Daniels


After teaching 33 years, chemistry teacher Jennifer Daniels has a few words she would like to say before her retirement. 

In the beginning Ms. Daniels had never planned to become a teacher, but instead she was working in a lab and wanted to try something new. She said, “I decided to apply for a teaching job, and they were desperate for science people so they gave me a chance. I have tried to leave teaching a few times, but every time I tried, something happened that made me stay. I suppose it was divine intervention telling me this is where I should be.” 


In her 33 years of teaching she spent 22 of those 33 years teaching at EMUHSD. She said, “I started teaching in 1991 at Frank Wright School in the El Monte City School District. In 1992 I moved to the El Monte Union High School District and taught at Mountain View HS until June of 1999. I then left the district and from August 1999 – June 2009 I worked for a few other districts that were close to home. In June of 2009 I was part of a massive layoff in the Fontana Unified School district, at which time, I applied for several jobs and was hired back to this district at Arroyo High School. I have been back in the EMUHSD for 15 years now.” 

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The most enjoyable thing about teaching her subject, chemistry, is the mystery vibes chemistry has. She said, “For me science is always a mystery. If I had to choose a single thing about chemistry I like that there are definite right and wrong answers to things and some of the problems are like puzzles.”


In her 22 years teaching in EMUHSD, the most memorable memory in teaching is when she was teaching at Mountain View High School. A student came in as a 11th grader from Mexico and she was able to teach him English and chemistry. She remembered, “He struggled through the year and managed to earn a B in chemistry. One day, in the middle of a lesson, he jumped up so excited and exclaimed, “I GET IT!” We were working on some metric conversions and mole practice. He said he finally had something he could do because he got paid by the Kilo when they were picking fruit for the harvest. His family were migrant farm workers. A few years later, he came to visit me. He had joined the Navy and gotten his citizenship. He was in his dress uniform and was so proud of himself. He told me he had been all over the world and that my class was the one where he always felt he could be successful. He said he wanted to thank me personally for making an effort to help him in learning English.”


To the new teachers who are starting out, the advice that she would like to give is, “This isn’t a job that is going to make you rich. The job is emotionally taxing and you will work harder to do it right than in any other profession. The rewards are those as I have referenced above. Kids that you think you have no impact on will seek you out later and tell you exactly how you impact them. Remember that teachers are human and it is ok not to like everyone, but you must strive to be fair with all. The most important things are consistency and classroom management. Make sure to have procedures in place that are simple to follow and set clear expectations and always find something to like about each child.”


As for her plans for retirement, she has it already planned out. She planned “many house projects and remodeling projects to keep me busy. In addition, I will be joining some tennis leagues and doing some hiking. I also plan to travel as much as my budget will allow. Most likely, I will get some part time consulting work to fund all of my new endeavors.”


Her final words to the school are, “I commute 90 miles round trip each day. I have worked in other places and could definitely find a job closer to home. That being said, I chose to stay in this district for many reasons, but overall it is because I feel blessed to have a wonderful group of people to work with and generally well behaved and motivated students to serve. I will also say, that my main reason for retiring is that I am sick of the commute. If I lived closer, I would probably stay a bit longer.”


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