SACRAMENTO, CA - She's been teaching for 10 years, but students also call Jennifer Hilleary "coach".
Hilleary teaches history at Florin High School in Sacramento. Her classroom style is rooted in her own personal experience.
"I didn't always enjoy my history classes, so I'm very activities based," she said. "I also try to make lessons fun."
Hilleary's students learn the meaning of slang from the 1920's by writing a story using old-time words. A few minutes into the exercise students are laughing out loud.
"I love when the light bulb goes off and kids get a concept," said Hilleary. "I love when they can connect events from the past to current times."
Hilleary also coaches the varsity men's soccer team at Florin.
"When I came, they had a uniform for each player and maybe, two balls," Hilleary said.
Now the team has a shed full of equipment. Hilleary said students help raise funds for equipment by selling fireworks.
The team has also had a lot of success under Hilleary.
"When we were part of Division 1, we made it to the playoffs which was the first time that happened in Florin High's history," Hilleary said. "And this past year we got really close."
It means a lot of extra work.
"I get out here and run up and down with the team everyday during seventh periods," Hilleary explained. "But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I plan to keep going until they kick me out."
By Karen Massie, firstname.lastname@example.org