VERDE VALLEY EDUCATOR OF THE WEEK: Katherine Forbes
COTTONWOOD –Back when she was in the sixth grade, Katherine Forbes decided that she was going to move to Arizona one day, attend Northern Arizona University, and become a teacher.
It was Forbes’ teacher who told her that she would “do great things in my life.”
For Forbes, the inspiration was to go into a profession and do for children what her teacher had done for her.
It’s been 10 years since Forbes became an educator. She spent two years as a classroom aide while she was tackling her own studies, then the past eight years running her own classroom.
For the past two years, Forbes has been at Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood.
The school’s principal, Genie Gee, has known Forbes since “long before” she joined the Cottonwood school.
Said Gee, Forbes is a “naturally gifted teacher and is able to relate to the young people that she teaches.”
“Katherine is able to balance the role of being a calm leader in the classroom while still being someone that students confide in and consistently seek out simply because they love her,” Gee said. “Katherine has a strong teaching style and consistently strives to find new ways to reach all of her students.”
Forbes teaches reading intervention, junior English, and Advancement Via Individual Determination – known as AVID. Said Gee, Forbes has been “instrumental in the implementation of the AVID framework.”
For Forbes, it’s the challenges each day “to be the best role model for my students, to inspire them to think outside the box, to push them to be the best they can be.”
“There is nothing boring about my job,” she said.
Forbes said that her teaching style varies on a “day-to-day basis” among all of her classes.
“Some days, there are lessons within a class that call for direct instruction, while many others focus on collaboration and inquiry-based learning,” she said. “The one thing that is consistent is my focus on teacher-student relationships. My students know that my style consists of a mutual respect between myself and them all while being held to the highest of expectations, both in and out of the classroom.
Although Forbes has not won an award for her teaching, she said that she is “honored to be recognized and approached by students when I am out and about in the community.”
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that students I worked with years ago still remember me and take time to visit, even if it’s only for a brief moment,” she said.
“Aside from the college pennants and curriculum posters, my classroom is filled with posters of motivational sayings and quotes. My favorite is ‘Always Be Yourself.’ Students struggle every day with trying to fit in one way or another, and I want them to be reminded that it’s okay to be you.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Before she joined the teaching staff at Mingus Union, Forbes taught at Cottonwood Middle School.
“It’s fun seeing and working with former students as they’ve grown older,” Forbes said. “In fact, the graduating class of 2018 at Mingus includes students that were in my class my first year as a sixth-grade homeroom teacher at CMS.”