Patricia Henry, a middle school science teacher, will receive the 2016 Academy of Science-St. Louis Monsanto Science Teacher of the Year award. She was chosen from more than 100 nominees in the area. She will receive $2,000 for professional development and $500 for classroom supplies at an awards ceremony on April 7 at the Chase Park Plaza.
After hearing the good news, we asked Ms. Henry a few questions about her experience as a teacher and how she feels about named a science teacher of the year
Q. How long have you taught science at Old North?
“I’ve been teaching at Confluence for 10 years, and teaching science for eight years.”
Q. How long have you been in the profession? What did you teach in the beginning of your career?
“I’ve been an educator for 20 years. In my early years of teaching, I taught first grade, second grade, fifth grade and I taught for two years at a community college.”
Q. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
“I became an educator because I had three children and another on the way. I enjoyed teaching them and I wanted to share that same experience of exploration with other children.”
Q. Name 2-3 characteristics or principles that have helped you become a successful educator.
“The principles that I’ve followed throughout my career are allowing students to feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others; set high expectations for all students; and allow students to explore their own thinking.”
Q. How do you feel about being selected as a science teacher of the year?
“I am greatly honored that Dr. Sonya Murray, our school principal, thought enough of me and my work at Confluence to consider me for such an award.”
Q. What is it about teaching science that is most challenging, yet rewarding?
“What is rewarding about science is witnessing students explore and discover lessons that carry lifelong meanings about the world in which they live.”
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“Yes. I’m the only teacher from the greater St. Louis area who is part of the Science Education and Quantitative Literacy Summer Institute since 2014. SEQL is an inquiry-based professional development program for teachers of math and science for grades 3-5. It’s held at Missouri University of Science and Technology. All of the other participants live or teach near Rolla. I was also on the HB1490 workgroup that revised the Missouri Learning Standards for secondary science.”