TURBOTVILLE - Accounting teacher Jennifer Vest didn't start out as an education major in college.
But the Warrior Run High School teacher credits Bloomsburg University for providing her with the opportunity to excel in the most rewarding job she's ever had.
"I was three classes from graduating and realized that I did not enjoy the corporate aspect of accounting ... I was thankful that Bloomsburg had business education, it transferred all of my credits and all I needed was my education credits, so it took me five years instead of four," Vest said of her transition to teaching. "It is the best decision I made, I never feel like I'm going to work."
Jennifer Vest is an accounting teacher at Warrior Run High School, Turbotville. She also is the Future Business Leaders of America and newspaper adviser.
At Warrior Run, Vest teaches Accounting, Personal Career Development Management and Introduction to Computer Technology and co-teaches Journalism with Marguerite Eisenhuth. She also is the adviser for the student newspaper, the Eagle's Perch, along with Future Business Leaders of America, Tri-Hi-Y and the Class of 2013.
She finished her fourth year at Warrior Run and her third year as the newspaper adviser. Prior to Warrior Run, she was an accounting teacher at State College High School for six years, where she also was the yearbook and newspaper adviser.
Vest, who resides in Bloomsburg, graduated from Millville High School. She is engaged to get married in February and has two dogs, a golden retriever and a Boston Terrier. Her fiance, Andrew Earnest, is a heavy equipment operator for HRI.
She credits Mr. Crawford at Millville High School for igniting her love of accounting and inspiring her to declare that as a college major. She said "Miss Deitrick made every business class fun" and Dr. John Olivo from Bloomsburg University made her strive to be the best teacher she could be.
"I was thrown into journalism, but I like it," she said. "I help the students work with InDesign to lay out pages."
Vest said there are many differences between teaching in an affluent school district like State College and a rural one like Warrior Run.
"In State College, I taught six accounting classes," she said. "Here, I teach one."
She said her students at Warrior Run often don't have the background knowledge, so what she teaches is new to them, whether it's in ICT, accounting or journalism.
"It's nice to see them learning new things, as opposed to it being more of a review," Vest said. "The challenge, though, is many of my students don't have the background knowledge or even a computer at home to work on their projects."
She said a lot of her students take accounting because their parents own a business and the students want to learn skills to help.
"One student's parents had a family business and he learned how to invoice," she said. "He saw the worth of it and the practical application."
She said the rewards, however, come years later when former students tell her they appreciate what she taught them.
"As a teacher, you just do your job," she said. "When they come back, they acknowledge they learned something."
She said some of her former students have found her via Facebook and left her positive messages about their classroom experiences.
As an educator, she said she has to use a variety of methods to engage all students and their learning abilities, including projects, lectures and hands-on activities.
"Today we had a PowerPoint lecture," she said during an interview before the end of the school year. "Tomorrow, we'll apply it."
Although her classroom is a computer lab, her students are not distracted.
"It was like Christmas when the new computers came in," she said of the recently upgraded Dell computers.
Her typical class has between 20 to 25 students with 26 in accounting. Her class sizes vary from year to year depending on how the schedule fits for each student.
"ICT is required by ninth grade and Personal Career Development Management is required by 11th grade," she said, explaining that she teaches skills that students need to complete other class assignments and projects.
Jenna Foust, 17, of Watsontown, recently finished her junior year and her first year in journalism at the Eagle's Perch.
"She is very supportive, but assertive," Foust said about Vest. "She's informative and intelligent - she knows what she's doing."
Foust credits Vest as the reason she joined journalism.
"I don't know if she knows that, but she's the reason," she said. "The fact that she cares - she wants us to be good - is greatly appreciated."
Foust said Vest spends a lot of personal time outside the classroom to work with the students on the school newspaper.
Morgan Foust, 18, of Watsontown, a recent graduate, said she hopes to join the staff of the Lycourier student newspaper when she attends Lycoming College in the fall.
"I am inspired by my work at the school newspaper," Morgan Foust said of her three years on the Eagle's Perch staff. Morgan Foust said Vest taught her that "it isn't easy, but it's worth taking the extra step."
"She's very motivated and hardworking," Foust said. "She's always looking for something to make it [the newspaper] stand out."
Jonathan Badman, 18, who also recently graduated, plans to attend Mansfield University in the fall to study communications and broadcast journalism. He credits Vest for giving him the skills he needs for his future.
"She's right on, giving us the information we need to get something done," he said. "Her classes are helpful. When I had her in Desktop Publishing, she taught me layout and design aspects, which were the best part of the class."
Vest said she often spends a lot of hours outside of the classroom with her clubs and if she's grading a big project. She meets twice a month with the FBLA students and each Friday with the Prom Committee. She also meets with some clubs during the 1/2 hour activity period in the morning.
"With the junior class, we have a lot going on with prom right now," she said. "It can be difficult to organize the group because I don't see those kids every day."
She also said she tries to chaperone the dances so she can see the students in a different light. "It's nice to be seen not only as a disciplinarian."
She said some of her obstacles she faces is having her journalism students meet deadlines.
"They think I'm hard on them, but that's the real world," she said. "In the real world, your article is cut if you miss a deadline."
In the Classrooms is published on the first Monday of each month. To nominate a teacher for consideration, email Education Editor Dana Borick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 326-1551, ext. 3108.