Teacher of the Week: Katie Head, sixth Grade, Bismarck-Henning Junior High

Sixth-grade teacher Katie Head enjoys engaging students and fostering positivity at Bismarck-Henning Junior High.

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When she tells people she teaches sixth grade, KATIE HEAD receives some interesting reactions.

“People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I teach 11- and 12-year-olds,” the Bismarck-Henning Junior High teacher said. “I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Head takes pleasure in engaging students, both inside and outside of normal class time. She fosters positivity throughout the school.

Head leads “hallway meetings,” for the fifth- and sixth-grade teachers, when they scope out the future for their students. She leads “Eagle Hour,” which commends specific students each month. She’s the student council sponsor, where she helps facilitate activities each month to help families in the Bismarck-Henning area.

“Katie is an excellent teacher,” Principal Rusty Campbell said. “She is always doing fun, engaging activities in her class. Kids love her.”

Here’s more from our Teacher of the Week:

I find my work important because ... my students are the future. They will be our leaders, teachers, engineers, nurses, farmers, etc. It is my responsibility to support and encourage them to be their best selves.

I became a teacher because ... I have always had a knack for working with kids — it’s in my blood. My mom was a second- and third-grade teacher for 37 years. Her creativeness and passion for teaching definitely had an influence on me.

At a very young age, I remember playing school with my sister and cousins in our basement. I made them do “homework” using old textbooks in an old school desk.

My favorite lesson to teach is ... when I teach astronomy using movement. I recognize that not all students learn the same. Any time that I can get kids out of their seats to learn, I do it.

During my astronomy unit, students learn about how the sun and earth move together in space. They act like the earth by rotating, orbiting and tilting to explain the reason that we have seasons.

My most fulfilling moment on the job is when ... I see my previous students outside of school and in the workforce. The past couple days, students have gone out of their way to say hi to me and have a friendly conversation. It is very reassuring to know that my students are doing well and becoming productive members of society.

I’m also passionate about ... gardening. I started a community garden at Bismarck-Henning Junior High several years ago — even though I had never gardened before — as an enrichment class.

Since then, I have become a master gardener and have learned a thing or two. Students help me throughout the summer to maintain the garden, and the produce goes right back into the community.

My favorite teacher was ... my third-grade teacher, Mr. Roth, at Riverwood Elementary School in McHenry.

Mr. Roth was creative and always so kind. In his room, we were responsible for taking care of his animals. I love that he trusted us with such an enormous responsibility.

He fostered a community in his room that I will never forget.

My favorite subject in school was ... math.

I engage students during this strange time by ... staying positive. It’s not easy teaching and learning in a pandemic, but we will find a way. We always do. I believe finding the good in every situation is an important and beneficial life skill.

If I weren’t a teacher, I would be ... a chef.

— ANTHONY ZILIS

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