Jennifer Combest – Math Teacher

Ashley Albers, Scoop Staff Writer

Jennifer Combest is a math teacher here at McCluer. She attended Hazelwood Central High School, and the University of Missouri- St. Louis and Williams Woods University for her college education. There, she pursued a career in teaching, and secured a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree to qualify her to be a teacher. She is certified to teach grades nine through twelve. At McCluer, she cares very strongly for her students, and hopes to help them achieve their goals in academics and in everyday life. In an interview, she told me,” There are always a few kids each year that I really form a strong bond with, and I keep in touch with most of them after they graduate on social media.  But yeah, there are some that I’d claim as my own long after they leave my classroom. I love catching up with former students and seeing how they’re succeeding in life.”

Not only does she enjoy this part of teaching, but she prioritizes it, and truly takes it to heart when she cannot help a struggling student. When asked what the hardest part of teaching was, in her opinion, she answered,” The easy answer: grading. Ugh. The papers… The harder answer: not being able to help a student I can see struggling, for whatever reason.” When asked if there was anything she wanted her students to know, she confided,” I really do love them and want the best for them. I hope all my students leave my room feeling like they could come back “home” if they needed something”. This is a teacher who thoroughly cares for every single student who enters her room, and that is the most admirable quality a teacher can have, in my student opinion.

She did not always want to be a teacher, but revealed that she found her love for teaching through a program in college, where she tutored students in math, and realized that she loved helping the high school students there. When she first started teaching, she described her experience as ‘overwhelming’. She went on to say that, “I was thrown into a classroom way before I was ready, even before I finished my degree.  The mean girl made me cry, but I came out of it with way more skills to work with students. My time at Fort Bowman was like a school of hard knocks for teaching, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to learn through experience and making mistakes.”

As a teacher here, she says her goal for not only for herself, but for her students as well to stay organized. Mrs. Combest has a true passion for her profession, as shown in her answer when I inquired what her plans were for when she stops teaching. “I thought that I would eventually like to be an administrator, but the longer I teach the more I know that I don’t ever want to leave the classroom. When our kids are out of school (and we eventually retire), we plan to buy a farm. I’ll keep chickens and cook good food.”

As a new student this year, I am jealous of my classmates or schoolmates who have had her as a teacher. She embodies what a teacher should be, from her academic goals to her personal feelings towards her job. McCluer is lucky to have a teacher like her. Thank you, Mrs. Combest.