Jennifer Gaffney, a biology and physics teacher and an overall lover of science, is looking forward to her first year teaching at Chamblee Charter High School.
“I took this job because I live in the community,” said Gaffney. “I’ve heard about how fabulous this school is and how wonderful the kids are here. That just sold it for me.”
As a teacher, Gaffney wants to show students the importance of science by connecting the content she teaches to real world situations. She hopes to share her passion for science, which stems from some of her childhood memories.
“As I kid, I lived off of Lake Lanier,” Gaffney said. “My sister and I would spend a lot of time playing in the lake and with all of the biological creatures around. That sparked my interest.”
One of Gaffney’s fondest memories from her childhood in Lake Lanier includes her father teaching her to drive his boat.
“[He taught me] way before I was supposed to be driving a boat,” said Gaffney, noting that her father had always been behind her in case something went wrong. “It was just a fun time and something that I always remember when I think about him today.”
After Lake Lanier, Gaffney went to the University of Georgia where she majored in secondary science education. Gaffney recalls her college experiences being a time where she learned to expand her horizons and gain new perspectives.
“I found a unique group of friends,” she said. “I got to know people who were from totally different backgrounds, which was exciting.”
Once Gaffney was finished with her education and entered the teaching world, she found that not everyone shared the same interest for science that she had. However, Gaffney says that being able to help others gain the passion she felt as a child has been one of her most rewarding teaching experiences.
“In the past, I’ve taught some fairly low level students who were not interested in school,” she said. “I love that after the fact they’d come to me…[they would] say that they’ve gained interest in science and in school because of my class. That means the world to me.”
When Gaffney is not teaching, she often returns to her childhood setting of Lake Lanier with her husband and dog.
“We love to just spend an afternoon in a hammock, [while] she plays in the water,” she said. “My husband and I also love to take her camping and hiking.”
Gaffney’s dog, a black Labrador Retriever named Lucy, has recently been adopted into her family in January. She is only two years old.
“[Lucy is] full of energy,” said Gaffney. “She’s what I would describe as ‘derpy’. She’s very smart but clumsy and adorable, and I love her.”
Now that the school year has started, Gaffney is currently catching up on some of her favorite TV shows in order to alleviate some of the stress accompanying the new year.
“I’m currently binge watching Parks and Rec,” she said. “In stressful times, like the beginning of the year, I just need something calm to watch.”
In terms of books, her favorites include anything by science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut.
Gaffney is excited about starting teaching at Chamblee Charter High School and getting to know her students.
“I want to overall become an important member of the Chamblee High School community,” she said.