We’re highlighting a teacher every Wednesday as a part of the #RedForEd campaign.

Every year is a great year to celebrate our teachers, but this year has shined a bright light on the flexibility and compassion of our incredible staff.

Today we’re highlighting Ms. Samantha Henry, a chemistry teacher at Terre Haute South High School.

What motivates you?
The kids motivate me more than anything. My students are high achievers that love to learn, but sometimes chemistry can be hard and intimidating. Their questions and discussions are exciting and interesting every day. They motivate me to make chemistry fun and approachable. I am always trying to make them see that they can do hard things, and that the struggle is worth it!

How has your job changed due to COVID?
The biggest change in my job due to COVID is technology. I spend a large portion of my planning time converting things that were paper/pencil into a digital format and making videos that cover my courses. I don’t think that this is a bad thing though. My students can access their chemistry materials from anywhere, and the video lectures that I have made this year can be accessed repeatedly to help students who are struggling for years to come. One negative change that COVID has brought is the difficulty of getting to know my students this year. Most years by this time I know them so well and we have a ton of inside jokes and memories that have been made in AP Chemistry, but this year it has been so hard. I’ve missed the chaos and chatter of a full classroom.

What is something that people don’t understand about your job?
My job is so rewarding, but some days (especially this year) can be so hard. I think that sometimes people forget that students aren’t just students. They have so many other things that they have to worry about, and sometimes school has to take a back burner. I struggle with this often. I want to teach my students chemistry, but I also try to be empathetic to the fact that they are nearly adults with their own fears, worries, stresses, and responsibilities. I spend a lot of time outside of school worrying about my students and all of the things that they have on their plate. This balancing act is so hard as a high school teacher. I’m trying to teach them content, but also how to be organized, successful adults.

Why do you love VCSC/your school?
The people! VCSC is full of amazing people that all want to see each other succeed. I have so many friends and mentors in the THS staff. They are great listeners when I need advice or just need to vent. Also, the awesome adults in the VCSC are working hard to make amazing students. My students are kind, hardworking, and they know so many things! That is all due to the great teachers they have had in the VCSC. I consider myself so lucky to get to teach them!

Be sure to check back on #Staffurday–Saturday, that is–as we recognize members of our non-teaching staff. We’ll continue both campaigns through the end of the school year.