BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Over the weekend, the Bismarck High School Science Team competed in the statewide competition at the University of Mary. They were led by Mrs. Valerie Smolbek. He is a biology, general biology and chemistry teacher at Bismarck High. He is also this week’s featured teacher on This Morning Country.
“I really thrive on kids,” Ms. Smallbeck said.
If biology is the study of life, and Ms. Smallbeck has been teaching it for at least 36 years, then her biology classes at Bismarck High are the life lessons learned.
“It amazes me every day how bright some of those kids are and how bright they all are, but they don’t realize it yet,” he said.
A science curriculum alone pushes students to the limits of their understanding. But the way he teaches helps them realize how much they are capable of.
“I think the Smallback class definitely taught me the rigors that I face in these higher level classes. I developed strategies to be able to deal with problems more effectively and probably developed my love for STEM more than I ever had before,” Louis Belanger, a senior, said of his experience in Mrs. Smallbeck’s class.
She tells us she loves the challenge of engaging students in a subject that fascinates her so much. This interest is transferred to his students.
“It’s definitely different than a lot of teachers,” sophomore Ethan Thurn said of his teaching style. “She truly cares about her teaching and wants her students to be successful, and it definitely shows in the way she teaches.”
Although she has taught adults her entire life, Ms. Smallbeck says she never holds two students to the same expectations. He says that each person faces a unique set of circumstances.
“I hope they get there. And some of them do. Some of them are more than where I draw the line in the sand. Some of them need me to help them out there.” he said.
That’s the experience Ethan Thorne said he had with Ms. Smallbeck’s instruction.
“If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have the opportunity for the future,” he said.
Ms. Smallbeck tells us she loves it when students share their success with her.
“Hopefully it will motivate them to do more,” he said. “I don’t want them to give up.”
Ms. Smallbeck has stepped down from the Science Bowl team this year to focus her efforts on the BHS Envirothon team, which she hopes to compete in May. The team also hopes to compete in Canada. If you would like to help make the trip possible, please contact Bismarck High School.
If you have a teacher you would like to recognize in the Country Today Morning Outstanding Teacher series, please email [email protected].
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