Hello! My name is Elena Plenda, and I am a math and social studies teacher completing my first Master of Arts degree through Michigan State University. I grew up in a small town before going out into the world to explore new places and new things. When it came time for me to raise my own family, I returned to small-town Michigan, where I now teach at a rural high school.
I knew I wanted to be a teacher while I was still in high school. My experience tutoring fellow students in math brought me such satisfaction when they hit that “lightbulb” moment that I knew I had found my career. While I began as a history major, I eventually transitioned to Interdisciplinary Social Science and picked up a teaching minor in math. It is good that I chose math as my teaching minor, since that is what I teach most.
My path to teaching was not a straight line from my own school days. I was already a mother when I became a teacher, which enabled me to bring a broader perspective to my classroom. Having spent time helping my children with their school work, I feel it was easier to see things from my students’ point of view when I became a teacher. Considering my students’ point of view has made me a more effective teacher.
Being a parent is a transformative experience. Each of my children are different, seeing the world from a unique point of view. It has been a joy to watch them grow into their own independent people. I love taking them for trips, to experience new places and learn about historical events. I usually drag my spouse along for the ride too. My family has helped broaden my experience, and ground me when teaching gets difficult.
I get to wear many hats in my personal and professional lives. I am a parent, a spouse, and a teacher to name a few. This experience makes me a better person and a better teacher. I am able to empathize with my students, and reserve judgement when they are not meeting my expectations. I know everyone follows a different path through life, and it is my job to help them along part of that path.