BAP084 Patience with Jen Steffens

Jen Steffens is a Michigan educator who recently experienced a breakthrough with her newcomer students. She shares what happened so that we can reflect on what went right and what we can learn from it.

Jen asked that we dedicate this show to the memory of Sandy Egbers who passed in 2012.  Jen has been an educator for 22 years and Sandy was one of her first mentors. Jen learned a great deal from her and lives by a quote on a mug given to her by Sandy.  The quote on the mug read “We all grow better in sunshine and in love.”

We dedicated this show to Sandy Egbers

July 30, 1949 – April 29, 2012

Jen tells us that Sandy was an incredible mentor teacher who

looked at every one of her students with an asset lens.

You can listen to this episode in your favorite podcast app or right here:

Listen to “BAP084 Patience with Jen Steffens” on Spreaker.

When you hear her speak about the experience, I’m sure you will agree that Jen’s patience, persistence, and high expectations for her students have a significant effect on how these girls are progressing.  I find this so important because it helps ME keep a high bar for students who are brand new to the language.   Jen shows us that patience is incredibly important and KEY to how we work with language learners, especially during the difficulties of this pandemic.
I met Jen years ago when I was in Michigan for the WIDA conference.  We have been connected on Twitter and Facebook since then and I’m grateful to be following her.  In fact, I learned about this experience when Jen posted it in one of our Facebook groups.
She posted it in the Leading ELLs group, which was founded by Pam Broussard.  We both recommend you join it!
Link to join:
We also regularly check Advocating for ELLs, founded by Valentina Gonzalez
Link to join:
A big take-away for me is that so many of us are worried about academic progress or regression but in reality, we can best support all students when we focus on relationships.  Jen’s example highlights other things for me to keep in mind.  She kept

I hope you enjoyed hearing about all the things Jen did to create a safe environment for her English Learners.  I was inspired by her explanation of the pro’s and cons of both face to face and remote learning.  It was a further testament to how she approaches instruction – she is capitalizing on what she can control and what works in favor of her students.

Big thanks to Jen for reminding us that our students will grow if we put the right things in our garden.

I need these reminders and I feel that connecting with educators like Jen is the best way to be reminded of what is possible.

Jen is on Twitter here: @JenJenniels

You can find me on Twitter here: @MsSalvaC

Thank you for stopping by.

Please reach out to me at if you’d like more support for your campus or your team.

Take good care,


PS: Here are a few free events coming up if you read this in the winter of 2020/2021:

Free Webinar on Jan 7, 2021 at 10:30am CT

Free Webinar through TransAct will be posted soon. Save the date for Jan 26.  It should take place at 1:30pm CT. Stay tuned for more info and please subscribe to get updates like this!