Wed, Feb. 26

Q&A with Verde Valley Teacher of the Week Amy Badger

Amy Badger teaches science, one of 33 Mingus alumni who currently teach at the Cottonwood school. VVN/Bill Helm

Amy Badger teaches science, one of 33 Mingus alumni who currently teach at the Cottonwood school. VVN/Bill Helm

COTTONWOOD – You won’t find a more committed, compassionate kind educator than Amy Badger.

That’s what Genie Gee, the Mingus Union’s principal and acting superintendent, recently said about the school’s science teacher.

“Amy is energetic, always kind, and has demonstrated years of successful teaching here at Mingus,” Gee said. “You can find Amy teaching a robust science lab in her biology class, dancing the night away as our favorite prom chaperone, dressed in Mingus colors cheering for our sports teams, chaperoning the rooter bus to an out of town game, or offering support to a student or colleague in need. Amy is school spirit personified and her love for Mingus runs deep.”

It’s Badger’s love of science that motivated her to become an educator.

“I have an innate curiosity about how the natural world operates and why,” she said.

Badger said that once she completed her degree in Biology, the classroom “became the perfect place to share my passion.”

“It may seem strange to some, but I thoroughly enjoy working with teenagers every day,” Badger said.

Badger said she likes teaching because it is “always an adventure.”

“Every day is unique, challenging, and rewarding,” she said. “I like exposing students to new concepts and watching them make connections, develop ideas, and ask questions. I also love celebrating their successes, whether it is in the classroom, field, stage, court, band, show-ring, or workplace.”

A person with diverse interests, Badger said she not discovered teaching, she would have been either a wildlife biologist, international tour guide, educational advocate, or a professional chocolate taster.

“The hardest part about being an Arizona teacher is providing students with a rigorous, high-quality education in a state where public education continues to be severely underfunded,” Badger said. “As educators we are mandated to accomplish an expanding list of academic and performance objectives with fewer and fewer resources.”

Verde Valley Newspapers: Tell us about your teaching style.

Amy Badger: “I focus on building relationships with students from the first day of school until the last. I try to cultivate curiosity about biological processes through inquiry labs, interactive group projects, and relevancy. My goal is to help students build a foundation of scientific literacy and an understanding about their role in the natural world.”

VVN: Tell us something notable about your career.

Badger: “I completed my student teaching abroad at a Department of Defense Dependents school in Heidelberg, Germany.”

VVN: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Badger: “’Good question. I don’t know the answer, but let’s find out’” is a phrase that I use repeatedly in my classes.

“I get excited when students are thinking critically and asking insightful questions, because that is what science is all about, discovering the answers to questions that no one has asked before. My students teach me something new every day.”

VVN: Tell us something about you that most people don’t know.

Badger: “I am 1 of 33 Mingus alumni currently employed at the high school. Mingus Union has been positively impacting the lives of Verde Valley students for more than 60 years. That impact has been so significant that many alumni, like myself, have sought to continue the legacy.”

 -- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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