Not even retirement could not keep May High School science teacher Ginger Anderson away from students.
May ISD school officials recognized Anderson after working with the district for 14 years, including a brief retirement, and Anderson credits her willingness to adapt to changing technologies for her longevity and ability to keep her courses relevant to students.
“I try to change and change with the times. Whether that is the use of technology or the class or just letting the kids use their phones,” Anderson said. “Do you need a calculator? Do you want to use mine or the one on your phone? Let’s go. I try to be very open-minded. If you want to take notes on your phone, then take notes on your phone. If you want to take a picture of what we’re doing, then take a picture.”
Whether letting students film a science lab or snap a few pictures through an electron microscope using their phones to better identify molecules, she allows students to use the tools they know to learn the scientific lessons they don’t. She also reaches out to former students currently attending college to insure the lessons she teaches are relevant and is quick to alter her curriculum if the need arises.
“We need to prepare these kids the skills to tackle the world. Whether it’s college, a technical school or maybe just in the workforce – wherever you’re going to be there are going to be lots of challenges,” Anderson said. “We need to give them those skills to be able to survive those challenges. If they happen to learn a little science along the way is a bonus to me … [The recognition] is sweet, but I do not feel deserving. I don’t think I’m that great. I just try every day to be better than I was the day before and every day to find a new way to help the kids get to a better place.”
Despite giving her students advantages such as using technology they are familiar with, Anderson said she is equally challenging. Hastily scribed reports have no place in her classroom.
“I have very high expectations of my students and every year I get the hardest teacher award. I’m not going to take your poorest effort and have you pawn it off as your best. I try to change and change with the times … I try to be very open minded,” Anderson said.
While retiring and living the easy life seemed appealing, Anderson said she was not ready to hang up her safety glasses just yet. One semester into the 2018-2019 school year, she said she has not regretted her decision.
“I had a voice telling me ‘it has been a while. Maybe you need to cool it a little bit and if you really love it, then you can come back,’” Anderson said. “That is what I was going to do, but they asked me to come back. It felt right. It felt good. My new principal is absolutely phenomenal and I just love him. We’re in a great direction. Things are changing and we have a new focus and that’s on students, their achievements and giving them the skills to get them where they need to be.”