Jonna Mayer Alumni Profile
2014 Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) alumna Jonna Mayer gets to make a positive difference in the lives of her students every day as a teacher in the College of Human Sciences' Child Development Research Center (CDRC).
Jonna teaches 2 and 3-year-old students and also works closely with Texas Tech students in the CDRC that are enrolled in HDFS 3313 and Early Childhood (EC) 3313 courses.
"I would say that instilling healthy social interactions in these children could easily make the top of my list of greatest professional accomplishments," Jonna said. "Watching my Tech students use the tools that I have given them on how to appropriately interact with children, expand their imaginations, and solve social conflicts also brings me a great sense of joy!"
When asked how she became interested in the field of teaching and human development, Jonna says that she always knew she wanted to interact with children in a way that was meaningful to their lives.
"Upon graduating, I knew in my heart that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. Straight out of college, I began working for Child Protective Services as a case worker. I quickly learned that I wanted my interactions with children to be a daily occurrence, rather than once a month. I had taken the HDFS 3313 course during my time as a student and knew that I had wanted to try the possibility of becoming a teacher."
Luckily for Jonna, the CDRC had several teaching opportunities in August 2015. Jonna gladly accepted the position and is now in her third year teaching. Jonna describes her job as one with many perks and a supportive staff.
"Learning individual differences in children and loving them for who they are and where they are developmentally brings joy to my heart. With loving these children also comes great relationships and friendships with their families. Knowing and learning each family as a whole is a wonderful part of my position."
When thinking back on her journey in COHS as a student herself, Jonna says that her degree in HDFS prepared her to tackle any challenges that her career has posed thus far.
"My experience in College of Human Sciences provided me with a blue print on how to help these children. My degree has equipped me with the knowledge of understanding child development and the many stages of development, understanding different cultural needs, how to correctly apply guidance and discipline, and much more!"
As an undergraduate student, Jonna was able to take HDFS 3313 with HDFS Instructor and Director of the CDRC Stacy Johnson.
"At the time, she did not know it, but I was totally enthralled by all of the knowledge that she had of young children. Luckily, when I became a teacher at the CDRC, Stacy became my superior and friend. Now that I get to closely work with her, I am always eager to hear her input and different aspects she has."
Applying those skills in her own classroom allows her to prepare her 2 and 3-year-old students for navigating the aspects of social conflict, a skill that Jonna says prepares them for the rest of their lives.
"When I see my two and three-year-olds in deep conflict taking deep breaths, using their soft voices to not only explain their feelings, but why they feel a particular way, I know that I have done my job. These moments fulfill me with the greatest sense of accomplishment."
Jonna emphasizes that meeting the needs of every child is quite the challenge, but one she gladly accepts.
"Every child is different, every family is different, and every situation is different. With that being said, it's important to understand, study, and solve how to make sure that you are providing your children with the skills that they need to be successful. I want to make sure that what I am doing in each and every moment is going to be what my kiddos need to help them succeed in life."
Jonna advises any students interested in teaching to pursue working as a student assistant in the CDRC and to take courses like HDFS or EC 3313.
"Through these courses you will have the opportunity to personally work with children, teachers, hear from parents, and learn many components that come with becoming a teacher. I promise that their experience at the CDRC will leave a lasting impact. So much of what I have learned at Tech has been applicable to my career."