This month, we are getting to know Baker High School teacher and Mock Trial coach Travis Jensen.
How long have you been teaching? What subjects?
I have been an English teacher at Baker High since finishing my student teaching at South Eugene High School in 2019. In my short career I have taught all four grades. This year, my focus is 9th and 11th grade English. I also serve as the Professional Learning Community Lead for the English Department at the secondary level.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I love building relationships with kids, and watching them grow over the course of the year.
What advice would you give a teacher starting out in Mock Trial?
Start early. I couldn’t field the team until January, and that made things tough. Also, don’t be afraid to let the students take ownership over the process. At the end of the day, a coach can’t be in the courtroom. Let them lead.
How did you become interested in civics education? And why is it important for young Oregonians to understand civics?
I was a law student before I was a high school teacher, and civic engagement is the core of my identity. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase positive feelings about democracy in American society – that process needs to start in the classroom. I had the opportunity to contract with the Oregon Department of Education last summer, and we need the project of democracy protection to be a part of the paradigm shift in American education. I see Mock Trial as a piece of that.