BANGS — In her first-grade classroom at J.B. Stephens Elementary School in Bangs, Brittany Benson said she didn’t start college at Tarleton State University to become a teacher.

The Early High School graduate planned to be a pediatrician, and she enrolled at Tarleton as a pre-med student.

But circumstances intervened. Benson began to dislike pre-med, and she discovered her calling as a teacher when she taught an art class in the Weekday Pre-School at First United Methodist Church in Brownwood, where her mother is director.

“I wan’t going for teaching at all,” Benson said. “I was going to be a pediatrician because I always knew I wanted to help kids in some way. And then I started working at my mom’s pre-school during my off-times at school and I just fell in love with teaching.”

Benson transferred to Howard Payne University, where she graduated with an education degree. She student-taught for a year at J.B. Stephens before getting hired as a first-grade teacher in the 2017-’18 school year.

Benson is “100 percent sure” she made the right choice.

“I fell in love with Bangs,” Benson said. “I feel like I was just made for this.”

Benson was born and raised in Brownwood, and her father’s job with Kohler took the family to South Carolina and Wisconsin while Benson was still in school. The family returned to Brownwood when Benson was a senior, and she finished school at Early High School.

When asked what inspires her about her students, Benson replied, “I like seeing their reactions to everything, and they come in so excited and whenever they get pumped up about stuff, it gives me more motivation to want to do all the fun little things and be there for them. You’re just like their little second mom.

“You have to have the passion for it and you have to have the drive, because it’s hard. Every day is a new challenge. Every day they come to school with more and more problems, so you have to be their counselor, be their nurse, be their teacher, all of it. They bring all their drama from home to school.”

Benson uses her passion for art as a teaching tool in the classroom. “I use art as a way of teaching them whatever subject we’re learning,” she said.

Benson said she’s single so she has no children, although “school is my kid.” She has a boyfriend and family in the area, including two sisters who are 10-year-old twins in Early schools.