Three 2019 alumni named rookie teachers of year in South Carolina

All three teachers majored in Adolescence to Young Adult Integrated Social Studies at BGSU

By Andrew Addessi

It seems like one day you’re sitting in the class, and then the next, you’re standing in front of it.

Kevin Werner, Kaetlin Bowling, and Mckenzie Weaver — three 2019 Bowling Green State University alumni — each has been recognized as Rookie Teachers of the Year.

Werner majored in Adolescence to Young Adult (AYA) Integrated Social Studies with a minor in history, and now finds himself teaching at River Oaks Middle School in South Carolina. He puts high importance on talking with his students, learning about their lives outside the classroom and switching up routines. Most classes start with a "good things" activity where his students are free to share about their days.

“The recognition gave me the boost of confidence that I am doing this whole 'teaching thing' somewhat correctly,” Werner said. “Between the professors, the amazing cohort I was privileged to be a part of and the amazing CMT whom I had throughout my student teaching experience, I felt prepared to take on this role.”

Creating unique classroom structures and connecting with his students was helped along by the lesson planning and hands-on approaches from his professors, such as Drs. Nancy Patterson and Joanna Weaver. Werner aims to make lessons that not only teach, but ​also give the students something to look forward to.

Bowling majored in AYA Integrated Social Studies with a minor in history. After her time at BGSU, Bowling now teaches South Carolina history to eighth graders at Alston Middle School. She puts major emphasis on building a relationship with her students and connecting the content she teaches to present day.

“As soon as I was able to relate to them and show them that I care and am a real person, they started to become more interested in the content,” Bowling said. “BGSU helped me learn and develop important classroom management strategies so I didn’t have to learn them in my first year of teaching.”

Bowling is thankful for the BGSU social studies staff helping her ​learn ​the skills to write lessons and activities that are not just productive, but also engaging for students. She also cites Patterson and Weaver as huge influences through her learning.

Weaver also majored in Adolescence to Young Adult Education Integrated Social Studies and teaches social studies at DuBose Middle School in South Carolina. Teaching middle school comes with its own set of challenges, but Weaver makes sure that care for her students come first, and content second.

“Sometimes, in your first year of teaching, you feel like everything you're doing and all the hard work is doing absolutely nothing,” Weaver said. “This award made me realize that I am doing a great job, and that what I am doing is effective and working.

Rather than settling as a good teacher, Weaver looks to be a great teacher. Once again thanking Patterson, she thanks her professors for the foundation to not just teach students, but to care for them, too.

Teachers are often important figures in a student’s life, so being effective, engaging and taking a unique approach to teaching is just as important. Werner, Bowling and Weaver are all recognized for their devotion to not just their jobs, but to the students they teach.

“The content comes second for me,” Weaver said. “All the history in the world does not compare to the importance of being cared for.”

Updated: 07/09/2020 10:41AM