Before Magnet: Sra. Colon and Mr. Jent

Get to know your favorite foreign language teachers!


Did you know Mr. Jent got a tattoo in 8th grade?

Q: What’s a favorite story from your childhood?

Sra. Colón: I walked to and from school all by myself at the age of five. I was a latchkey kid. I was pretty independent at the age of five. That’s unheard of now.

Mr. Jent: My gangster days? Okay, so I went to a Catholic school with nuns, and we were very good Catholic children. I’m guessing around the 8th grade, all of the 8th graders just decided to give each other tattoos using a needle with thread and Indian ink, and we did. We all gave each other tattoos of our initials. My tattoo is supposed to be “DJ” for Daniel Jent, but it doesn’t really look like that. As we grew up, most of my friends had their tattoos covered up with something else, but I still have mine on my arm. The nuns never knew about it. We did everything on the Down Low.

Q: Have you met any celebrities?

Sra. Colón: Yes. I’ve met Cher and Mickey Mantle, and I also got thrown in the street by Mel Gibson’s bodyguard because I got too close.

Mr. Jent: I can’t remember her name. She was on the Roseanne show, you know, the daughter? One of the dark haired daughters, Sara Gilbert. I met her in New Orleans…. yeah, I was not very impressed.

Q: What’s something you regret or a bad decision you’ve made?

Sra. Colón: I do have regrets. There’s certain decisions I’ve made where I was on the fence, and those decisions didn’t change who I am but it changed situations I was in. So I have regrets of certain smaller decisions I’ve made. But larger choices? No. Like I had the choice of becoming a parent. But a decision like, ‘Oh should I eat that or not?’ There’s differences. I have made decisions where I shouldn’t have done a certain thing or I knew that I was wasting my time. But I don’t regret my children or the friends I’ve met or experiences I’ve had. I am who I am, and you may like me or not. I’m not going to change for anyone.

Mr. Jent: I have no regrets. How could anyone, really? For good or bad, I have not always made the best decisions, but everything I’ve done has led me to where I am today. I am the person I am today because of these different experiences. Maybe if you could go back and change it you wouldn’t do the same thing, but you also wouldn’t be the same person that you are right now.

Q: What’s the most interesting job you’ve had?

Sra. Colón: I worked at Gap for thirty minutes. Thirty. Minutes. The messed up thing is that they even paid for my training on how to fold things. They’re all about perfection at their store so, you know, everything’s perfectly folded. So I got paid for all of that time, and then they told me, “Okay, you’re gonna work at this store in Manhattan.” When I started working there, they were like, “Fold those jeans,” and I did it. Then they looked at the jeans to see what I’d done and said, “No, that’s wrong.” So I was like, “That’s it. I’m out of here!”

Mr. Jent: I’m going to tell you about the worst job I ever had. I only had this job for an hour, but you have to know the context. I was not quite finished with college yet. I had just gotten back from Europe, and I was taking pretty much any job to make some quick money. Anyways, I only worked this job for 1 hour. It was at a Coca Cola plant, and my job was to shovel these cans that were dented and filled with soda into this crusher. This machine would crush all of the cans, and it sprayed soda all over me. I even had a rubber suit on, but I was still sticky afterwards. I did it like once or twice, took the apron off, and walked out of the building! That was truly the worst job.  

Q: What are some cool places you’ve been to?

Sra. Colón: I loved Spain, but I wasn’t really a fan of Portugal. My favorite place to travel as a city, urban area is Southern Spain, but my favorite place to travel for nature is Costa Rica. One is just for you to enjoy nature, and the other has lots of people. It’s just a different vibe. I also loved Hawaii. There were beautiful sunsets every night.

Mr. Jent: There are so many great places. How do you pick just one place? I love everything. I loved visiting France and also Italy. Obviously, Paris is my number one favorite place, and then Amsterdam. I just adore Amsterdam. There’s so much freedom and there’s so many canals, beautiful architecture, museums. The Dutch people are so welcoming. It’s a party place, and I was there in my 20s. As far as smaller cities go, my favorite small city is Annecy, France. It is in the Swiss Alps and has several canals. It is so cool.

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Sra. Colón: So my story was kind of accidental. I was working in an office and was tired of the minutia. I was so tired of it. Day in and day out it was the same thing, the five o’clock whistle; I couldn’t wait to get out of there. And I’ve always been a studious person, an overachiever, so I got my masters degree and started teaching as a permanent sub for Spanish. It was accidental, but I’ve developed into the teacher that I am now. You don’t just go into college and say, “I’m going to become a teacher.” It’s a process. If you lose a passion, just do something else. You need to have the endurance to be a teacher because we’re dealing with young minds and people who have so much to say but don’t know how to say it. You have to have the passion for teaching, and if you don’t have it, you should do something else.

Mr. Jent: To be honest, and I tell my kids this all the time, I started college and right away fell in love with language. I loved the French language and literature. So I ended up getting two undergraduate degrees— one in french and one in comparative literature. I then went on to get my masters degree in French Literature. After graduating, I was like, “Well, what do I do with this?” So, I went back to school and got my teaching license, and teaching has been perfect for me. What I did was everything I wanted to do. I followed my bliss and it led me to where I am, and I thoroughly enjoy teaching. I think many people find their way as they go. Teaching is a craft that you are constantly revising. And I think the passion for it is what keeps us going.

Soak in experiences and also learn from others around you who care about you.

— Sra. Colon

Q: What would you have told your younger self or your current students?  

Sra. Colón: I would say that you need to also appreciate the people that are taking the time to spend time with you. Your family, friends, good friends, you get to this point where they seem like old news, but they’ve got so many experiences and stories. Not everything is shiny that’s new… don’t forget your past, heritage, history. I think that’s really important. You learn from it, don’t let it define you, but you should learn from it. Soak in experiences and also learn from others around you who care about you.

Mr. Jent: I would say to just experience as much as you can because every experience you have is going to make your life richer and more full. As you grow you are going to appreciate life more because of these experiences you have had. Your history and heritage are both important. But in that same respect, you cannot let history define you. It depends on who you are. If you were brought up in an abusive household, for example, that’s not right. Don’t let adversity define you, do not ever become a victim (Colón: Yes, I like that).

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Sra. Colon and Mr. Jent! They are both incredible people and teachers, and we are grateful to have such passionate foreign language teachers here at Magnet. Stay tuned for our next edition of Teacher’s Before Magnet!