Teacher of the Month: Jennifer Buys

Special education teacher Jennifer Buys fuels her students with inspiration and passion

Amanda Myton, Reporter

Special education teacher Jennifer Buys finds comfort and familiarity walking through the halls of Peninsula. Buys graduated from Peninsula and after working one year at Gig Harbor High School, she switched and has now been teaching at Peninsula for fourteen years.

“This is my home, this is where I feel comfortable, there’s no place I’d rather be,” Buys said.

Buys loves working with kids, especially high school kids. Buys did not always know she wanted to be a teacher, however. Buys originally had dreams of being a coach but decided that “the easiest way to coach is to be a teacher.” After she began substituting, she saw that she might fit better in another department.

“I didn’t know I wanted to teach special education when I got started,” Buys said. “It was through my experiences as a substitute that I realized not only did I have a heart for kids who struggled, but that there was also great need to have teachers who enjoy working with these students in those positions. So the job found me.”

During the school day, Buys understands the unpredictability of good and bad days in the classroom and responds to it all with positivity.

“If you have a bad day in here, it does not indicate that tomorrow will be rough,” Buys said. “The vise versa is also true, having a good day in my room doesn’t mean the next day will be good, so you always have to stay on your toes.”

Outside of school, Buys spends her time coaching soccer, exercising and spending time with her family. She also loves to read and listen to music. Her favorite book right now is the children’s book There’s Only One You by Linda Kranz, which teaches that there is only one you and you can make a difference in the world, which is a theme Buys seems to live by.

“I love high school aged students,” Buys said. “I want everybody to know they matter and everything is available to you in this world if you work hard.”

This idea was introduced to her in a lanyard she received in middle school that says, “It’s a matter of pride there is no finish line” and she has since kept it with her as a line to live by.

Buys is passionate about kids and is proud of being a parent and watching her kids grow up. She finds great importance in the connections between people of all abilities.

“[I’m proud] when my kids experience genuine high school experiences like going to football games and going to assemblies, things other kids take advantage of,’’ Buys said.