Upper School chemistry teacher, Jamie Benigna, was recently awarded the American Chemical Society’s Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching. The award recognizes outstanding teaching in the areas of effective methods of presentation, ability to challenge and inspire students, extracurricular work in chemistry, willingness to keep up-to-date in the field and evidence of leadership. Jamie said that “it’s an honor and validation of one’s work just as much as it is oneself to have that group pick your contributions to the field as the most significant.”
Jamie was recruited by Pat Vance when she retired after a long career as chemistry teacher at Roeper. He knew Pat through meeting at various professional development opportunities and she could see that their teaching philosophies were similar. He is very thankful for her mentoring. Pat came back periodically during his first year (2004) and she “observed me teach, gave me feedback, pointed out the Roeper-specific nuances, and managed to instill a student-centered approach that maintained high standards and intellectual intensity.”
Jamie feels that the best part of teaching “is the questions that students ask and their genuine desire to know why.” He knew during his interview for the Roeper job that this was a place where he would encounter those questions when the 9th grade student on the interview committee pulled out a copy of a paper Jamie had written, cited in his resume, and asked him questions about his research!
Fortunately for us, Flinn Scientific, a leading scientific equipment supplier, produced a series of videos in which experienced Chemistry teachers present lessons, demos, activities, pedagogy and Lab experiments that Chemistry teachers can use in their classrooms. Jamie made 21 videos for them. There are links to three of these below if you want to see him in action!