Walker — a native of Cache Valley, Utah — will graduate with a BA in dance education in April
Before she came to BYU, Jessica Jensen Walker took dance classes and was a mainstay in her high school drill team at Mountain Crest High in Hyrum. She enjoyed her time dancing but never considered it to be a possible career choice. When she began her courses at BYU, the dance classes she participated in completely changed her perspective.
Walker learned that there were degrees for dance science, dance therapy, dance writing, and many other areas that were never on her radar.
After some contemplation and exploration, Walker landed on dance education for her major. However, that wasn’t always the career and educational trajectory she had anticipated.
“I originally auditioned for the dance education major, but was accepted into the dance Bachelor of Arts program. After some time, I realized I did want the education component as well. I decided to pursue education because I really love teaching,” Walker said.
Switching to dance education led Walker to take classes in the School of Education, which she said really enriched her experience.
“It was never my original plan to study dance in college, but I’m really glad this is where I ended up,” she said.
Walker is currently student teaching for Provo High. She says her preparation skills have been pushed to the limits. “The more I can think ahead of time the better class goes. Students are very perceptive and open communication with them is key to have a safe and engaging class,” she said.
Walker said that the dance education major is very focused on being dance advocates throughout the community. She plans on working in education in Utah and is grateful that the state values the art of dance so much. Walker’s hope is to teach high school dance classes as well as coach a high school dance company.
“I prefer teaching dance in schools because I find it really fulfilling to give an opportunity to students who may not want to be on a dance team, but who are interested in taking a dance class. This gives students the chance to learn a new skill and hobby they may not have the time or money for,” said Walker.
“Student teaching has been an awesome learning experience. It has been hard, but I have learned so much so quickly. The experience is helping me develop what I like and don’t like to do as a teacher, and connecting with students has been incredible.”