When Tommy Rider began teaching Leah Bohannon about agriculture when she was a young student, , little did he know his mentorship would inspire her to teach others.
Bohannon was one of 150 teachers that attended Richmond County Schools’ New Teacher Orientation this week.
As the new agriculture teacher at Hephzibah High School, she is ready to have the same impact on her students Rider had on her.
“I want to get kids excited about agriculture. It’s our number one industry in the state and we need more people involved in it,” she said.
“You can be so many things in agriculture and if you start your base now in high school, you have a basis where you could have a career out of high school,” Bohannon added.
Some new instructors, such as A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School teacher Ben Forehand, draw their inspiration from the future, not the past.
“What inspired me more than anything was seeing the challenges our young people are going through,” he said. “I want to be a part of the solution.
“I want to help our young men know how to give a professional handshake and look someone in the eyes as a professional.”
Forehand worked for Georgia Power for 22 years before taking the leap to become an educator.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – to somewhat give kids a constructive idea of what the technology and engineering field means,” he said.
Among “newly minted” teachers like Bohannon and Forehand was “seasoned” Hephzibah Middle School English and language arts teacher Vivian Harden.
She stepped away from teaching but returned this year with her infectious passion for reading.
“When you find out their interest and you take them to the media center and show them there are books, magazines and articles about their subject – it’s amazing,” Harden said.
Even as a veteran teacher, Harden absorbed the training she received at the New Teacher Orientation and feels prepared for the 2017-2018 school year.
“Richmond County has come together and shown me that they are truly interested in my success. They are providing us with the toolkit we need,” she said.
While the week-long training was filled with seminars on policy and curriculum, all three new teachers agreed that talking with current teachers was very beneficial.
“Having their experience bank is good to draw from,” Forehand said.