The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Teacher of the Month: Jana Coffey

With+this+year+marking+her+10th+year+teaching+at+WCHS%2C+Ms.+Jana+Coffey+has+already+made+a+difference+this+year.+By+responding+to+her+students+based+on+how+they+feel%2C+she+is+able+to+make+sure+everyone+feels+comfortable.
Photo by Nataly Behnia
With this year marking her 10th year teaching at WCHS, Ms. Jana Coffey has already made a difference this year. By responding to her students based on how they feel, she is able to make sure everyone feels comfortable.

While many students at WCHS believe they have been in every single hallway, many have not been able to explore the Bridge department. There, students will find one of the kindest and most passionate teachers at school: Jana Coffey.

With 2023 marking her 10th year teaching at WCHS, Coffey has used that time to make a significant impact on all of her students. Before she came to WCHS, she worked with students who had learning disabilities and behavioral issues, as well as working alongside general education teachers.

“The Bridge program is geared towards students that have high anxiety, are highly intelligent and a lot of them go onto college,” Coffey said. “They are just too anxious to be in with 30, 35, 40 students in a classroom.”

WCHS’ Bridge program is a part of a group of six schools in MCPS to have a Bridge program, and WCHS’ teachers have been excellent in fostering a loving and welcoming culture in the program. While Coffey didn’t start her career at WCHS, it has been her home for a decade, and WCHS and all of its students have benefited from how long she has been here.

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“I applied to different programs and this was one of them, so I didn’t really choose the Bridge program at the beginning,” Coffey said. “I have definitely chosen to stay in the program, [as] I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it.”

Coffey uses her observation skills throughout the school day in order to gauge how her students are. Responding to her students based on how they are feeling is one of the main ways that she is able to treat everyone respectively and kindly.

“We do a lot of training in this program about not escalating students, but trying to see where they are, and then responding to them there,” Coffey said. “So if I think someone is anxious, then I would respond in a certain way. But if I think they’re being defensive, then I would redirect them to the task in a different way.”

As a teacher, Coffey’s ability to guide her students to write stands out among everything. Rather than giving them the answers, Coffey directs them to the prompt and so that they are able to understand the content at hand.

“She is always checking in on her students. If they’re writing a paper, she’s prompting them as they begin the process of writing,” WCHS paraeducator Victorie Grubic said. “She’s not at her desk and making them google something – she’s always present.”

Coffey’s room always serves as a place for her students to eat their lunch, and has become a safe space for students both inside and outside the Bridge program. Her compassion for her students, innovative teaching methods and love of teaching makes her a wonderful teacher.

“She is organized, is always prepared and she’s great with the kids,” Grubick said. “She truly has the best interests of the students in mind at all times; she is amazing.”

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About the Contributor
Cecilia Bernstein, Assistant Observations Editor
Cecilia Bernstein is a junior and is the Assistant Observations Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. She is a huge Swiftie and her favorite albums are Midnights and Lover. She loves to play soccer, hang out with friends and listen to music. In the summer, she spends her time at summer camp.

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