Friday, March 15, 2013

Interesting Person Interview Series - Jenifer Edition

This week I'm thrilled to share my interview with my cousin Jenifer.  Jenifer is one of my favorite people - ever. I lived with her for three months during the summer of 2007, and we've been "summer sisters" ever since.  She's now rocking the world of a bunch of 4th graders.  Her interview after the break:

1) What is your name and who are you?
My name is Jenifer Rank. I am an energetic, debatably overworked first year teacher.

2) How do you know Kate?
I am Kate's cousin! I was (one of) her personal attendants on May 28, 2011 and am named after her mother!

3) Tell me about a typical day in your life.
As I read through the other interviews on The Year of the Kate, it seems most people have a hard time answering this question.  I’m torn whether I have a typical day or not. My schedule is as follows:

My alarm goes off at 5:30. Out the door by 6:15. At school by 6:50. Run around prepping for the day until 8:20 when I pick my kiddos up on the playground. I teach two sections of language arts before 9:30. 9:30-10:30 is a meeting of one form or another...sometimes serious, sometimes just having a blast with my 4th grade team teachers. 10:30-11:50 is reading. Favorite part of my day by far! 11:50-12:30 is my "lunch." Any teachers reading this know that isn’t a real thing. 12:30-1:00 is another section of language arts. 1:00-1:30 RTI (thank you lawmakers). 1:30-2:45 math. 2:45-3:05 wrap up the day! 3:05-8 get ready for the next day. 8-9 enjoy a glass of wine. 9pm bed time.

But I suppose what happens during those time frames is not material for “typical.”

4) What’s the most challenging part of your life?
Not being able to be everywhere and doing everything at once. There’s not enough time in the day or days in the year to do everything I want to do.

5) What are you likely to be doing at 8pm on a Saturday night?
I’m pretty pleased about my response to this question. The only likely thing I’m doing at 8pm on a Saturday night is drinking a glass of red wine. Who I’m with, where I am, or what I’m doing… that changes…. And I LOVE that it does.

6) Paint me a picture of your life in five years.
I used to love questions like this, but sorry Kate, in the past year I have learned to hate them. I have no idea. A year ago today nothing I said would have been what’s actually happening right now, other than the fact that I’m a teacher. So, I can’t paint a picture, per say, but I can tell you some of my goals.
1) Have my masters degree
2) Look back on my first year of teaching and confidently say I’ve grown in my career
3) Be happy

7) If you could be given any gift, what would it be?
The gift of time. For example, I’ve been wanting to do this interview since the first time it was mentioned by Kate. The reality of that happening was slim. So much that she told my sister she wasn’t going to ask me to do it because she knew I wouldn’t have the time. A snow day is what it took to get it done. Time… not enough of it in my life these days. So any gift? Maybe some more snow days.

8) What part of your morning routine do you consider essential?
My 30-minute commute. I absolutely LOVE everything about it. The tunes. The sunrise. The bridge over the Mississippi River from Iowa to Illinois. The time to sip my coffee leisurely. It’s perfect.

9) What one deceased person would you like an hour with?
My maternal grandfather. I was really trying not to repeat any of Christine’s answers on here, but here’s to you grandpa—I’m quite confident all of your grandchildren would say you.

10) If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go and why? Have you been there before?
Ireland. It goes back to my roots and my days as an Irish Dancer. I haven’t been, but it’s been a dream since about age 12. Hey, talking about the next 5 years? Add this to my list of goals. Go to Ireland.

11) You have ten minutes to give a speech to college seniors.  What do you talk about?
Know when enough is enough.

I had a college professor give me the book The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool the day before graduation. In it she wrote me one of the most heartfelt notes I’ve ever received. The story is about a boy who learns he can spin cloth from the clouds and make beautiful clothes. As people learned of his talents his cloth was in high demand. Over time though, as the boy continued spinning cloth as much as he could, he became worn down and he lost the talent. This professor’s note was that teaching is an infectious career, where we give and give and give. Her note cautioned me to know when enough is enough, to know when to say I’ve done my best and I don’t need to do any more. I’ve read the book and her note numerous times this year on those days when it gets just too overwhelming.

In my ten minutes I’d read that book. And then I’d read her note to me.

12) What is your all-time favorite song?
Any song that was once blasted from the Bug with the top down with my best high school girlfriends belting it out.

13) If you weren’t in your current occupation, what would you like to do?
Be a school principal or a college professor in education and be a published author of a children’s chapter book series on the side.

14) Tell me about your family.
There are a lot of them. And with a lot of them comes a lot of love. I am so very blessed to have the family I have.

15) What do you “know now” that you wish you “knew then”?
I probably wasn’t all of my teachers’ favorite… although I spent most of my childhood being convinced that I was.


  1. God bless first year teachers! Don't worry it DOES get easier, better, and even more fulfilling :)


  2. First year teachers may lack experience but you'd be tough to compete with on the enthusiasm scale ( I can feel it in this interview) and that's got to count for something (I think).

  3. I've been there I promise, first year teaching is a beast but it only gets better from there! It never gets easy but the challenges change!

  4. Great answers, Jenifer! Your interview was fun to read. I shared it with my sister, Morgan, as she is also just starting out in the world of teaching. She is student teaching second graders right now and seems exhausted and challenged everyday. Thank God there are people in this world as patient and as passionate as you teachers! Keep doing what you're doing!

  5. I enjoyed this very much, too. So proud of the interviewer and the interviewee! And I'm really glad you teachers get Spring Break - enjoy yours, Jen. You deserve it!

  6. Awesome Jen! It's so much fun to get some insight into your life (that's an early, early alarm). I can easily picture you cruising down 80 with your coffee in hand. Thanks for sharing!


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