Pauls Valley Democrat
firstname.lastname@example.org — Bobbi Paxton is still trying to take it all in after being named the top family and consumer sciences teacher in Oklahoma.
Paxton, now in her eighth year of teaching at Pauls Valley High School, was as surprised as anyone when she recently received the top teacher honor from the Oklahoma Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, a statewide group of teachers and extension educators.
”I’m kind of in awe,” Paxton said about the honor.
”It’s hard to believe I got this award, and it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” she said during a conversation in the same classroom where she teaches her students.
”It really is an honor. I’m extremely touched and honored to get this award. I’m still a bit in shock.
”I never realized how much I’d done until I wrote it all down.”
The class Paxton teaches used to be known by many of us as home economics.
Not so anymore. Paxton’s class does focus on food much of the time, but there’s so much more to it these days.
”We do more about the science part of it, how does something work, why it works the way it does,” Paxton said.
“Foods have been the big area, but we’ve done a lot of different type of stuff. We do a variety of things. I just do what the kids want,” she said, referring to the many class projects done over the years.
A good example is a project where students built their own working solar ovens with cardboard.
It turned out to be a big success even though many of her students early on didn’t think it could work
”The kids didn’t think they could cook in a cardboard box,” she said.
”They researched it and found out they could do it.”
A few more examples of projects include students helping younger kids by reading to them and teaching them about better hygiene, seat belt safety, baking cookies for a kindergarten project here in PV and donating stuffed animals to the local hospital.
Paxton has plenty of experience in the area having taught family and consumer sciences for 25 years at schools all over, big and small.
”I’ve always taught consumer and family sciences, but it’s not the same thing every year,” she said.
”I rotate it on a three-year schedule, so everything is different every year.”
With the curriculum changing every year it sometimes focuses on food preparation, while other times it’s on the science of food.
There’s also financial literacy, which involves things like managing a personal budget and checkbook.
”When I look back at the students I’ve had over the years, I hope I had an impact on their lives with all the projects we’ve done.”
As for her nomination for the statewide award, Paxton said it actually came from someone she didn’t know.
That nomination was made by a Holdenville teacher on the state association’s committee.
Paxton added she’s been a member of that association for nearly two decades.