By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Each week we love reading nomination letters for Excellent Educators. This week a parent wrote to tell WCCO about Blake Jorgensen who teaches public speaking at Minnesota Transitions Charter School High School in Minneapolis.

The parent wrote Mr. J took her shy daughter who spoke quietly and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and transformed her into a confident, well-spoken young woman who holds her head high.

The confidence he gives all his students is what makes Mr. J this week’s Excellent Educator.

Jorgenson is in his fourth year teaching language arts and speech, a subject he wants every student to master.

“If you are capable speaking in front of a group I think you can go a lot of places,” he said.

When asked what is the key to giving a good speech, Mr. J said: “Knowing you’re the smartest person in the room about what you’re speaking about, making sure you’re the one who knows the most in the room, then you don’t get stressed.”

For some students, speaking in front of their peers can be scary. But Mr. J says there is only one solution to get kids to overcome their fears.

“I make them do it,” he said. “You don’t have any other option, you have to get up and do it because otherwise you never would.”

When they do, Mr. J said, “They know they can live through it and it’s not that scary.”

As each student takes the lectern, Mr. J watches with pride of all his students are able to accomplish.

“I guess I really like when they are proud of actually learning something that’s probably my favorite part,” he said.

Mr. J says he wanted to become a teacher because he had great teachers in high school. He is a graduate of the Mound-Westonka School District.

He also coaches students who are assigned to give graduation speeches.

If you have an educator you’d like to nominate for this award, click here.


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