Brenda Bott, Shawnee Mission West High School, Overland Park, KS
Brenda received her Master of Science degree in Biology from Emporia State University. She currently teaches at Shawnee Mission West High School and is an Adjunct Professor at Johnson County Community College. She enjoys sharing her passion for science with everyone, especially her students. She is completing her 32nd year teaching science. Her teaching career includes teaching Earth Science; Physical Science; Anatomy and Physiology; Physics; and all levels of Biology and Chemistry. She is now “putting it all together” in the Biotechnology courses she specifically designed to integrate all sciences. “My career has taken many twists and turns in the science department, which at the time seemed overwhelming. Overcoming the challenges presented by ever-changing teaching roles provided the knowledge base necessary to take my students to the next level,” said Bott.
In addition to teaching, Brenda strives to provide learning opportunities for her students outside the classroom. She has taken her students to the top of Loveland Pass in Colorado to experience high-altitude ecology and physiology; and, to the Gulf of Mexico to give her “land-locked” students a taste of marine biology. She coached Science Olympiad for many years and continues to be active in student research opportunities. Her students win state, regional and national awards for their science research. If you ask Brenda about her philosophy of education she is quick to describe teaching science to students like teaching a baby to walk. “After several attempts, students succeed. I continue to be there for support/advise but; truly, the students are more than capable of learning the most abstract concepts in science. Before you know it they are off and running. Students need to opportunity to learn from their mistakes – truly learn what went wrong. Most importantly, students need the opportunity to try again. The ability to analyze data (grades, study time, research techniques) and make effective changes is critical to their success. Just like a baby learning to walk.” Brenda’s new favorite line to use when her students say they can’t do it comes from the movie Blind Side: “You can’t do it YET.”