Jennifer Killian- A New Teacher, But a Real Standout

A mentor of Triton Middle School’s new English teacher, Miss Jennifer Killian, had no doubt that she would get the job.


courtesy Jennifer Killian

Jennifer Killian, a new teacher at Triton Middle School has been working since the beginning of the year with Triton students.

By following the arrows in the hallways of Triton Middle School, one will step foot into Miss Killian’s classroom, with a view that overlooks the Triton football field. 

The year of COVID-19 happened to be Jennifer Killian’s first year at Triton, and second year of her teaching career. Killian was hired to be a seventh grade English teacher in the Triton Regional School District. 

After graduating from Salve Regina University in 2019, majoring in secondary education English and minoring in Spanish, Killian had landed a job as a sixth grade Humanities teacher at Ipswich Middle School. Due to budget cuts, Miss Killian was unable to keep the job, but was recommended to fill the position of a new English teacher at Triton Regional Middle School for the 2020-21 year.

“When she interviewed here, I was very excited about that. The teachers are telling me that she’s bringing in a wealth of knowledge with regard to bringing technology into the classroom” said Heidi Mongeau, the Assistant Principal at Triton Middle School, as well as a former teacher and advisor to Miss Killian. 

Killian grew up and graduated high school in Georgetown. There, she had played soccer and was the Vice President of the Key Club, which is a community service organization at Georgetown High School. Today, she coaches the JV Soccer team at Georgetown High School. Outside of her education, she taught sailing. When she went to college in Rhode Island, Miss Killian continued sailing by joining her college team.

After teaching sailing when she was a young student, Killian developed a passion for teaching. Killian explained how she wanted to be the teacher that students would feel comfortable talking to and have the ability to make connections with, just like her experience with some of her teachers. 

“I’m still really good friends and in communication with some of my old teachers from school, and I hope that I can impact students and help them find their passions as well,” said Killian.

Killian, being young and fresh out of college, has brought her technological knowledge to her classroom which can be beneficial due to the COVID-19 impact on the way school is now often taught in a remote setting. Teaching online has been half of her teaching career. She talked a bit about how she manages to keep her students engaged and motivated during this time.

Teaching during COVID-19 has been nothing like Miss Killian had anticipated. “I have a lot of energy, I’m spunky, I do a lot of fun things in the classroom- we’re up, we’re moving. The classroom is never quiet, and it’s tough to do that on Zoom,” said Killian. 

This is the main conflict that has come up in Miss Killian’s online teaching. With the students keeping their mic’s off during the meetings to avoid audio interference, Miss Killian explained how she feels like she’s a terrible stand up comedian due to the silence.

However, to keep the kids engaged, Killian has introduced a few online interactive applications. One of her favorites is PearDeck, which is an interactive slideshow where you can insert multiple choice questions or open response questions for Google Slideshows. 

One of Killian’s mentors who is also the head of the 7-12 ELA curriculum, Sarah Scruton commented on her progress in remote teaching. 

“Miss Killian is on top of things. She’s really great with the technology, she’s really great with engaging students online…I think she’s a great addition to the middle school. I really like the enthusiasm that she brings and the knowledge that she brings,” said Scruton. Killian stood out in the eyes of Scruton, who said that there was no doubt that she would be a perfect fit. 

One thing Killian is known for is, when teaching at Ipswich Middle School, she had a giant inflatable alien in the back of her classroom that her students would pretend to dance around with, and was there for a ‘second pair of eyes’ watching from the back. She also had a disco ball in the classroom. Miss Killian said she strives to create a fun and comfortable environment for her students.

Last year, one of Killian’s students had submitted a Walt Whitman poem for a poetry assignment. She was in awe by the imagery and the language before realizing that the student had plagiarized a famous poet’s poem. Using it as a learning experience, Miss Killian took note that even the teachable moments are a lot of fun. She stated “If you can’t laugh at your mistakes, then you’re taking yourself too seriously.”

Killian grew up around teaching, having experience in her youth as well as her mother and sister being teachers. She has always loved and had a passion for English. She had even said for her preschool yearbook that she wrote “I want to be a teacher just because I want to.” 

Considering teaching older kids further in her teaching career, Miss Killian has fallen in love with teaching middle school.

“I’m really excited to be here, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” said Killian.