Home Education and Careers Teacher feature: Students at St. Edmond’s Academy say Jocelyn Delaney always makes...

Teacher feature: Students at St. Edmond’s Academy say Jocelyn Delaney always makes time for them

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Jocelyn Delaney, a product of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wilmington, works at St. Edmond’s Academy with students who have a diagnosed learning difference. She is in her 10th year at the school. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — Jocelyn Delaney does not mince words when it comes to talking about her job at St. Edmond’s Academy. She is the director of educational support, working with students who have a diagnosed learning difference in order to make sure they succeed at the all-boys school in north Wilmington.

“I have the best job,” she said recently in her classroom. “I say it all the time. Giving them the foundation and understanding of how their brain works, and getting them ready to take off into high school, is really exciting. By eighth grade, they do understand what they need to be successful. They understand themselves as a learner and how to apply themselves. They start to advocate for themselves, which is what we want.

“The best part of my job is watching them grow and thrive, which only happens when they believe in themselves and they know they have someone in their corner.”

Delaney was nominated for The Dialog’s Teacher Feature by three eighth-grade students: Casey Fox, Brennan Nurry and Thomas Healey. Casey said he has learned a lot during the three years he has worked with Delaney, but there’s more to it than teaching.

“Mrs. Delaney always sets a good mood for the classroom and always greets her students,” Casey wrote.

Brennan cited Delaney’s patience and ability to motivate. “For one, she has taught me how to be more organized, helped me plan ahead of time for tests, and she always pushes me to my full capacity. One other reason is she makes learning really fun for me.”

Thomas likes that Delaney is always willing to go the extra mile for her boys. “Whenever I need to do some work, I can email her and ask her if I can come in during lunch or recess or enrichment to finish or work on any work that I need to do. Or if I want to stay after school to work on something with her or finish something, she lets me.”

Delaney appreciates the recognition and the fact that the boys realize how hard their teachers work. But, she added, the students are ultimately responsible for their own success.

Delaney has been at St. Edmond’s for 10 years. She started out teaching second grade, then became the reading interventionist before moving to the Andre program, which assists students with learning differences. The two classrooms used by the 36 students in the Andre program are open and comfortable, with couches, lounge chairs, and lots of room to move around. The setting allows the students to focus on the most important things, she said.

“We want an environment that is conducive to their learning,” she said. “We don’t modify curriculum. We just make sure our students have what they need to be successful.”

Delaney, 34, substituted at St. Edmond’s and Ursuline Academy after graduating from Wilmington University before a full-time job opened at St. Edmond’s.

She said becoming a teacher is all she ever wanted to do. Growing up in Claymont, she had a chalkboard in her basement, and her younger brother, Tyler, was her student. A third-grade teacher at Holy Rosary School, Alex Corr, inspired her.

“She was the best,” Delaney said. “My boys always ask me, ‘Were you a teacher’s pet?’ I was, especially in elementary school.”

From there, she attended Padua Academy and Wilmington, and she has since added a master’s in literacy from the University of Delaware. She said she has found a home at St. Edmond’s.

“I really like it here at St. Edmond’s. I think we have a good community. We have good students. We have good families. We have a good mission. We want our boys to be strong gentlemen. We want them to be respectful. We want them to be leaders, and I think that in this environment, we’re helping them,” she said.

Working at a small school allows her to develop relationships not only with her students, but their families as well. She’s convinced that makes a huge difference in the success of the boys. Delaney said she knows their learning styles and can modify what she does for each one.

Delaney added another title a little less than a year ago: mom. She and her husband, Kyle, welcomed daughter Kinsley, and she has become the center of their world.
“She’s fun,” Delaney said. “Just navigating how to be a parent is an adventure. She’s pretty chill.”

Her students ask about Kinsley all the time, and she has made a few appearances at school events. When they are not busy at school or at home in Pike Creek, the Delaney clan likes to go to the beach, where her parents and brother now live. They are also big sports fans.

Still, her students are never far from her mind. She wants them to know she is there for them and wants to teach them how to advocate for themselves.

“The best part of my job is watching them grow and thrive, which only happens when they believe in themselves and they know they have someone in their corner.”