By Susan Riddell
When Betty Hunt was in high school, she had an interest in work-based learning and soon was placed at a job in a dentist office.
“I wanted to attend college – but no one in my family had ever attended college, and I didn’t understand how to make it happen for me,” Hunt said.
Eventually, she started working at the academic affairs office at the old Prestonsburg Community College, now Big Sandy Community and Technical College.
“I drove by the Martin County Area Technology Center (ATC) every day on my way to work and thought to myself that I would really like to be a teacher there one day,” Hunt said. “It was a goal and dream of mine.”
Years later, not only does Hunt work there, but she was recently named Kentucky Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education for her work as a business and marketing teacher.
Dale Winkler, associate commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, said that Hunt is an effective CTE teacher who ensures every lesson is relative to the real world and builds strong relationships with students, the Martin County ATC, Sheldon Clark High School, Big Sandy Community and Technical College and businesses in her community.
He also praised Hunt for helping students not on track to meet college- and career-ready measures receive the appropriate targeted interventions.
“Her leadership on the Response to Intervention Committee has assisted several students in achieving college- and career-readiness (CCR) status by the time they graduated from high school,” Winkler said.
In becoming a teacher, Hunt took advantage of the Employee Tuition Waiver. Eventually, she became a National Board Certified Teacher.
“This process helped me to think critically about my teaching methods and student outcomes,” Hunt said. “I became more confident as a teacher and knew if I did not have the answer to a problem, I have other professionals I can ask for an opinion.”
She feels it’s crucial to every school to have highly effective teachers who can model, coach and encourage other teachers in becoming highly effective through work in their professional learning communities (PLC).
“When teachers have a designated time to meet, compare and contrast various lesson plans, objectives, formative and summative assessments and have time to develop common assessments for each subject area, the focus on student learning and outcomes rise,” she said.
Hunt loves having a career focus with her students, she said, and she tries to connect what they are learning to how it can be used in a career or on the job.
“Tying relevance to rigor keeps students engaged,” Hunt said. “Business education can be tied to any career and many times can be tied to common knowledge (like personal finance) that people need in order to function well in our society.”
Thanks to many hands-on learning opportunities that business education offers, Hunt feels business curriculum can be used to get students motivated and interested a little easier than some other subject areas taught in the high school setting.
She also encourages business teachers to create learning opportunities with Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students.
“Having the opportunity to travel and be with other students in FBLA motivates my students to care about education and even get excited and thirst for more knowledge, especially in the area for which they are competing,” Hunt said. “That is a teacher’s dream.”
Hunt also believes in putting her students to work as interns. She runs a program that puts interested Sheldon Clark High School students in nearby businesses. Students have worked in floral shops, medical offices, attorney offices and more. Some have been offered paying jobs following their internships.
Business and marketing education can be a foundation for any career, Hunt said, especially considering components of Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) and College and Career Readiness (CCR) that are already embedded into the curriculum of business and marketing education.
“For example, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications were offered here at Martin County Area Technology Center before CCR measures were adopted in Kentucky,” Hunt said. “In my opinion, these initiatives elevate the need for all career and technical education options.
“Students are not ‘cookie-cutter’ and ‘one size fits all,’” she added. “Their educational needs will not be either. Having career and technical education available to all students will only strengthen their readiness for functioning in society upon graduation, whether that’s going on to college, attending technical school, joining the armed forces or working. Students will be more prepared if they have had some type of career and technical education.”
Hunt has heard before, “I didn’t think the technical school was for me because I am going to college after high school.” That’s not true, she said.
“Technical education is for all students,” Hunt added. “In my classroom, I offer dual credit options to two different colleges – Morehead State University with the Early College Program and Murray State University with the Racer Academy. In addition, students can obtain articulated credit to any Kentucky Community and Technical College and Sullivan University with the courses I teach. Many career and technical schools offer these opportunities to their students.”
Betty Hunt, email@example.com, (606) 298-3879