GIRLS I KNOW
Jill Collins
Picture 17

Division Street, March 17th.

I call her Bambi.

Who was your first New York friend?

My first New York friend would be this great dude Seth. He is definitely one of my best friends in the city. We met through mutual Californian friends. He was throwing a bunch of one-liners at me, but I wasn’t budging. Eventually, I embraced his humor and positive outlook on life. I feel like you have a special bond with friends you make in New York that’s similar to childhood friends. We’re all in this bustling city trying to find our path and make something of ourselves. Meeting people we can relate to also brings new perspectives. I feel closer to home in New York than anywhere else because my friends here are my extended family; they’re just spread all over East Village and Brooklyn instead of one house, which is why I’m a big walker.
Tell me about your job. Tell me about three important moments in your career, whether they be scary, exciting, important or pivotal.
I am an English teacher. I’ve taught middle and high school over the past five years in NYC. I love teaching! This profession is more than rewarding. In a way, I feel most myself in front of my students. My time spent learning how to make my own way in the classroom has taught me a lot about the problems that face not only teachers, but also the education system in general.  Recently, I asked my class to write an excerpt on whether or not they would ever consider a teaching career and what the reasons were for their decision.  Every single student that responded was vehement in their disinclination for the profession, mostly because they did not want to have to deal with disobedient students like themselves.  I also realized that the idea of teaching and education is in need of serious repair. For me, working these ideas within academic discourse is a way to challenge dominant worldviews and push for creating a more equitable society—and, however small the gesture is, I believe a difference is made. I have views, motivations, and ideas that I hope will revolutionize the educational world.  I want to help the under-served members of my community, not by expecting them to fold into the mainstream, but encourage them in the ways they want and need to be. I hope to make future generations of students consider teaching as a viable option to business or law school, and I believe that such a movement must be started on the ground level.  Teachers must convince students that education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.
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Jillian Collins is a tenured New York City public high school teacher. She teaches English in Manhattan and has for 5 years.
She’s a smart, driven young woman from the California desert. Similar to her hometown of Palm Springs, she’s warm and calm to be around but also can surprise you! I’ve witnessed Jill break a few hearts and also heal a few hearts of those she keeps close. I think she’s rather brave and I consider her a best friend.
“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” – Maya Angelou