A Region 8 Teacher is up for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year award

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) --A Region Eight teacher is really making the grade. She's up for the state's Teacher of the Year award.

I'd like to introduce you to Karen Hart. She's the Staff Chairman at the Science Department at Jonesboro High School.

To me Biology has always been a little out of my realm of understanding. With a teenager and a teenagers' homework at home I really feel out of my element. I asked Hart if it was hard to keep teens interested.

"Biology and teenagers? You get to talk about things they want to talk about. All the hormonal things that are making them crazy."

And of course she teaches them lots of other important things like plant reproduction and why sunflowers turn to the light.

Important wisdom that this teaching veteran of 38 years in the classroom has passed down to countless students. Hart says she compares her love of teaching to the passion of an artist.

"You know it's like diving into an art form. If you really enjoy teaching, if you are a true teacher at heart, I mean it's like being removed from yourself. I love Biology, I love talking about Biology. I love the topics that are encompassed in the field of Biology so it's getting to talk about and doing what I like doing."

With years of classes behind her and multitudes of students passing through her doors, Hart has noticed that incoming students are lacking important, needed skills.

"I'm getting students right now in the 10th grade that haven't a clue about problem solving. They don't even know how or where to begin."

This Advanced Placement class I was visiting was taking notes as fast as Hart could give out the information. Hart says she changes things up everyday for her students, but sometimes a higher authority makes changes that can make teaching difficult.

"Every 7,8 years the Legislature changes all the guidelines, the curricular framework. We're fixing to go to common core national standards. If you're doing the same thing every day you are way out of touch."

Nearly 4 decades is a long time to be teaching about the birds and bees and cell structures and lots of other things besides. Is teaching just a job now? Or something else?

"I love my job, I love my job, Yeah."

Hart will find out Friday night at a banquet at the Governors Mansion as to whether she has been chosen, or not.

©2010 KAIT All rights reserved.