Amy Bennett Receives 2018 Outstanding Educator Award in STEM

As a physical education teacher Amy Bennett uses the game of basketball because the students like it and because they like it, it provides an avenue to really get to know her students. Even though they were having a great, Bennett knew they needed more so she took a professional development opportunity in coding.

“A year ago, I knew nothing of coding. I never coded anything before and I just went to a workshop and got my feet wet basically,” said Bennett. “Now I learn alongside of them. They help me learn and I help them learn.”

What makes this story unique is that Bennett is a teacher at the Educational Technical Center in Washington, NC. For many of these students this is their last opportunity at finishing high school.

“This is an alternative school, so we pull kids from all over Beaufort Count, “By the time students get here they feel like this is their last chance or last opportunity to make something of themselves. Through using STEM, they can learn life skills such as problem solving or asking the right questions.”

For her commitment and dedication in the classroom, Amy Bennett has received the 2018 Outstanding Educator Award from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center. She will be recognized at the annual SMT Celebration on April 28, 2018 in Raleigh, NC.

“There are students at this alternative school that are doing things that our traditional high school students are not doing,” said Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools. “She has a passion for the students. She really wants to make sure that they have exposure and opportunities. And they benefit from having a teacher like that.”

Bennett sets a high bar of success for her students and she find that many of them are up for the challenge.

“If they respect you, then they are going to do what they can to reach whatever bar you set for them,” Bennett said. “You definitely learn to be patient with them cause each student needs something different. And they need something different day by day. A lot of the kids struggle at home and bring those struggles with them to school. They have babies that they get up and take care of and get to daycare. You really never know what they are coming in with that morning.

But I learn a lot from my students. They really do get into your heart. They are like family. They’re like my own kids. I definitely want them to realize they are not throw away kids. They do have passions and talents and things that they can offer this community or wherever they find to fit in. They make my job really enjoyable.”