HCS Changemaker: Mrs. Jennifer Dill
Congratulations to Mrs. Jennifer Dill, an eighth-grade history teacher at Huntsville Junior High School, who has been selected as this week’s HCS Changemaker!
Even as a child, school was always in the back of Mrs. Dill’s mind. She would take textbooks home to play with and often invited other kids in the neighborhood to play along. As she grew up, she began to babysit and even worked in a daycare during college. Mrs. Dill also developed a strong passion for history, something that was partly fueled by her own teachers’ love for the subject. In college she studied English, history, and even sociology, but it was during her sophomore year when she had an assignment to observe a high school classroom that she really decided she wanted to teach. Having progressed so far towards her degrees already, she decided with the advice of a college counselor to work towards a fifth-year master’s program in education.
“Mrs. Dill is a fantastic teacher,” says Huntsville Junior High Principal Gregory Hicks, “one of the things that I love most about her is [that] she always has the kids engaged.” He goes on to say that she expands the students’ minds by ”tackling the senses” with a variety of assignment types. Huntsville Junior High student Adjriana Jones says, “I like the assignments because they’re more like hands-on.” She mentions that Mrs. Dill might have them drawing, writing poems, or creating masks that relate to the historical events, cultures, or people they are studying.
There’s also a lot of humor in Mrs. Dill’s classroom, from both the students and the teacher alike. Huntsville Junior High student Ben Kvach says, “She has pickle duct-tape, which is on almost everything in the room, she has a Dill With It shirt, it’s just… it’s pretty funny.” Mrs. Dill says that she wanted to head off any chances of middle-school kids making fun of her last name by just laughing about it herself, and the kids really get into it.
Outside the classroom, Mrs. Dill is usually busy with her nine-year-old daughter, who is involved in swimming, ice-skating, and the church choir. She and her family enjoy spending time hiking and camping at places like Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. She and her family are also big Havoc hockey fans, and she loves to go to the games as often as she can.
More than anything, Mrs. Dill wants for her students to gain a love of history. She says that, in eighth grade, it’s the first time most of them experience history the way it will be taught in high school, and she wants them to be prepared. Having spent 14 years as a high school teacher, she knows exactly what they need to get there. She works hard to make the subject approachable, to reach all students, and to instill a sense of work ethic. It’s clear she has a lasting, positive affect on each and every student that walks through her door.