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Ellen Gives Back to Inspiring Special Education Teacher Jenna Albi

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Ellen Gives Back to Inspiring Special Education Teacher Jenna Albi


There’s a few things I
really enjoy doing every day, scaring Andy, watching
cute animal videos, and surprising someone
in my audience who has no idea they’re about
to be a guest on my show. This is Jenna Albee and
she’s in the audience. [CHEERING] We’re surprising her! Come on down! I’m gonna clip this on. OK. Hi. Hi! How are you? I’m good! Yeah, you’re the one
we’re surprising today. Oh my god. We like to surprise people. [GASPING] Yup, it is your
baby, you’re right. That’s my mom. That’s in– you’re the mom. Yes. [LAUGHING] So you are from New Jersey. Yes. All right, and you’re a teacher. Yes. Where are you a teacher? So I’m a teacher in
southwest Philadelphia, I teach at Hardy Williams
Mastery Charter School and it’s a Title I school so
resources and money is always a little bit of an issue. We’re serving a population of
primarily students in poverty, but it is a great school. Yeah. I love it. But that’s amazing. So you’ve always
wanted to be a teacher? Oh, yeah. So since I was a little kid,
when I was I think like, 8, I asked for a chalkboard
for Christmas, and she got me one and
I would like, set it up with my stuffed animals
and teach for them. I also am really
passionate about teaching since I was little because
my brother always really struggled with school. He had a disability and was in
and out of special education and I just saw like,
his disbelief in himself and how he felt like
school was not his thing. I wanted to be the teacher
that made every kid feel like school was for them. That’s amazing. That’s so good. [APPLAUSE] So your students– and you
teach special ed, right? Yes. OK, and it’s from
kindergarten to sixth grade? Yes. So tell me about– and
most of the kids there, you said it’s Title
I, so it’s a– Yes. –it’s a difficult situation. Yes, definitely. So my school goes
from K to 6, I’m a fourth-grade
special ed teacher so I work with mostly
fourth graders. It is 99% below the
federal poverty line or qualifying for
free or reduced lunch so the kids are
coming from poverty. A lot of them are facing really
difficult things every day, but they amaze me every
day and I love them. So and the biggest
issue with the school is what, because I
know you’re spending your own money on supplies
and things for the kids? Yeah, definitely, I mean it’s– really for the school is money,
it’s– any inner-city school, funding is always an issue,
so working around having the resources we have to make
it work for what we need to be the best we can for the kids. As far as my own money,
I mean, the amount of money I spend on something
as little as pencils is just like, you
would be amazed, but between my three teachers
that I share a classroom with, one of us is always
grocery shopping each week just to have food for our
kids, because a lot of them are coming in hungry,
or we want to make sure that they’re just– Yeah. –feel safe and ready to learn. And a lot of these
kids, I mean, it’s one thing that they’re
coming in hungry, at least you have food for
them there, but on the weekends they don’t have food, you know,
you have to think about that. So it’s amazing
what you’re doing. Thank you. So my friends at
Cheerios know this story and they want to support
the students at your school and make sure that
they have enough, so they’re going to give
your school $25,000. Oh my god! [CHEERING] Oh my god! Thank you! You’re welcome. We’ll be right back. You spend your money
on the supplies but you have your
own student loans, and you have another
job as a hostess. Yes, so I paid for all of
college in student loans so now basically I just
started paying them, I’m 25 and basically I’ll be paying
$1,000 a month for 20 years until I’m 45 to
pay off my loans, so I did get a side
job hostessing. It was kind of crazy
because I was– after I would teach all day
I would go to my restaurant to work there, and some days
I would be there till 1:00 AM and have to wake up again the
next day at 6:00 AM to teach, so I did take a
little break from it, but it was necessary
to help pay for– Yeah, that’s– but you
can’t– you can’t function. You can’t be– you have to rest. You have to be rested to
go and help these kids that you’re doing. Yeah. So again, my friends at
Cheerios know about your story, and they want to support
all of your acts of good, so they want to
give you $25,000. Oh my god! [CHEERING] That’s for you. All right? That’s so– I want to hear about
your acts of good. Go to my website, tell
us what you’re doing.

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