Student News Desk: LSE social studies teacher has his own unique past to share

Jesse Reynolds gestures at the board as he teaches his AP World History class. Photo cred: Maren Steinke

Lincoln Public Schools understands the importance of quality journalism to help inform our community and shine a light on the people, programs and events that make our school district unique.

Student News Desk is our ongoing effort to promote excellence in journalism and public education by selecting a story written by student journalists from our high school publications classes to be featured on the Lincoln Public Schools homepage and social media. 

Written by:  Maren Steinke and Abbey Hardin, Southeast High 

“Go Knights!” If you’ve ever met Jesse Reynolds, you’ve probably seen his collection of cool Southeast shirts that display his Knight Pride. Reynolds has been teaching for four years at LSE, as well as one year as a substitute for LPS before that. He teaches Geography, World History and AP World History, but has also played his part in history as a member of the US Navy.

“I enlisted when I was 18 and got stationed in San Diego, California, for the first 12 years, Reynolds said. “I was on two ships and one tour of shore duty in that time. I went on four deployments (six months each) and a number of other visits to places like Acapulco, New Orleans, and San Francisco.” 

Reynolds was stationed in many cities, but the most interesting place he went to was Naples, Italy, where he lived for three years. During his time in the Navy, Reynolds worked in communications and computer networks where he used devices such as satellites and radios. 

The Navy greatly impacted Reynolds’ life, including his current career. He got orders to be a recruiter for the Navy in 2006 and was stationed in Norfolk, Nebraska. There, he was able to work within high schools talking about joining the military, and it was when he was working as a recruiter that Reynolds realized that, “I really liked working with high school students and if I combined my love of conducting training, the epiphany that hit me was that I should be a high school teacher after my time in the Navy.” 

Not only did his time in the Navy impact what direction his current career went, but it also helped him to become a great teacher. 

“I think that one of the biggest impacts that my Navy career has had on my teaching career is allowing me to keep calm when things don’t go as planned. I don’t get too worked up when things go sideways and it helps to stop chaos from happening in the classroom. Additionally, my experience in working with all sorts of people from all over the country helps me with my empathy and understanding [which helps] me remember that every high school student has their own culture, their viewpoint, and their own story.” 

His student teacher, Hannah Olin, has also noticed that his students return Reynolds’ enthusiasm and caring attitude.

“He is a great teacher and values each and every student that comes into his classroom, and I believe they know it,” Olin said. “Students are always saying hi and fist-bumping him in the halls. It is easy to see that he is well-liked and respected.”

Teaching history was a perfect subject for Reynolds, who believes that understanding other people, cultures, and points of view is vital to be a good citizen and person. Reynolds also enjoys teaching because of the students. 

“There are a bunch of reasons why I enjoy teaching but it really always boils down to one thing, working with students and getting to interact with so many different personalities and backgrounds.  Any time I see a student that is enjoying an activity or having a “light bulb” moment where something clicks and they have a new understanding of the world around them, it is such a cool thing to see.”

Because of his love for his students and teaching, Reynolds was also a perfect fit to be the boy’s varsity bowling coach this year. Sports have always been a big part of his life, and he’s wanted to be a coach as long as he’s wanted to be a teacher. 

So far, he loves it and has great confidence in his team. 

“Working with students outside of the classroom is great and getting to see how talented they are and helping them to improve their game is awesome. Coaching is an extension of teaching that focuses on sports instead of textbooks so it’s a fun way to keep working with high school students. Plus who doesn’t enjoy bowling?”

Reynolds also has some good advice for students. “Not everything is a potential world-ending event. Not every assignment or every class that you take is going to define your life. Most of the things that we experience in high school are just chances to learn and develop something new about yourself, whether that is a project in one of your classes or the conflict that you have with a classmate.” 

This is good advice for high schoolers because a lot of the time it can feel like school is taking over your life and having missing assignments and bad grades is the end of the world. 

“Stay calm, put in actual effort, and enjoy the time that you have here at LSE because it will be over before you know it and hopefully when that happens you can look back and be proud of your time here.”

Check out this story and more at Southeast's online publication:

Published: January 23, 2023, Updated: January 25, 2023