Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of stories highlighting teachers in Elmore County.
When Eclectic Middle School life science teacher Lana Hebert found out one of her students was having a tough time passing P.E. class, the Louisiana transplant who was in her first year of teaching at EMS decided to go the extra mile with that student.
“I said, ‘If you’re going to fail anything, it cannot be P.E,” Hebert said.
Hebert, who is a runner, told the student if she dressed out all week Hebert would run the mile with her.
The student did just that, and Hebert and the student ran the mile together.
“It made a huge difference,” Hebert said. “It was my first year here. I think it made a big difference with that year’s class, too. They didn’t know me. It just kind of turned that entire atmosphere of that class around over something little like that.
“I don’t think it is always about the content. It’s about what you can bring and how you can support them. They remember little things like that.”
Hebert is now in the 12th year of her teaching career and has spent the last five at EMS.
She said the family atmosphere at the school makes her job enjoyable.
“There is great student support here,” she said. “The kids want to learn and be here. Having a good relationship with parents helps. The whole community just works and helps the children.”
She indicated students learn a lot about why they look a certain way through the life science class.
“Some children at first do not get (why everyone looks different),” she said. “When they start looking at how cells are made and divide and how mutations happen they start making connections and could see how we are all different. Genetics are a big part of it.”
She said it is satisfying when students realize the why and how behind what she teaches.
“They do family trait trees and get to see how this very first cell builds up to a person,” Hebert said. “I like that part because they see why they are how they are. You can see it in their faces or they will start asking questions. If you can get them asking the right questions the things they can do are unlimited.”
Hebert also teaches a technology class. She said one of the challenges she and the students are facing today revolves around has fast things change.
“(The students) are changing in ways we do not understand yet,” she said. “It is so quick we have to be prepared, as teachers, too. We have to stay up on (technology and teaching methods).
“This year, we brought in a lot of instructional gaming. That’s how they are learning. I can tell them exactly what to do, give them a study guide and it’s not going to be great. I could put a Quizlet up and get them going around the room and play a game and they will do well because that’s how they learn. We are preparing kids for jobs that do not exist yet.”