Since 2006, Jena has taught hundreds of workshops throughout the United States. As an instructor with Badgerdog Literary Publishing, Jena works in schools teaching creative writing to be submitted for publication in the anthology Rise. She is also a creative writing instructor for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas and editor of the poetry anthology Writing for Positive Change.
"One of your former students gave you a card that read, 'My heart was dying without poetry.' We at Badgerdog love to tell this story because it speaks to the transformative act of writing."
"Writing is a personal act. Writing asks you to delve into your mind and your heart and your soul and to speak from that space. You can't educate someone on how to do that. You can say, this might help you get to that place, but the writer and the artist individually have to go there."
Teaching Artist Snapshot
Teachers & Writers Magazine
"A mother herself, she says she has witnessed the therapeutic nature of writing for children and finds it to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of her job."
"While working at a Boys & Girls Club -Kirkpatrick met a young boy who had never spoken. Each class consisted of reading a famous poet, emulating their writing style and finally sharing your work with your peers. When it was the boy's turn, Kirkpatrick said she would read the first line if he would finish the poem. Though he stumbled through the words quietly, he completed it, and his classmates were awestruck."
"I work with kids with Asperger's, kids with ADD, and they're the ones most affected by writing. I don't know what it is with kids, but the outspoken ones or the troublemakers are always the best writers."
Life & Arts
The Daily Texan