Imagine becoming a new health science teacher with a passion for inspiring the next generation of healthcare workers, but without the support and tools you need to succeed. While it sounds bleak, thousands of teachers across the country face these circumstances every day. One of those teachers was Rhonda Evatt.
In a decade of teaching health science in South Carolina, Rhonda has instructed many courses, including Health Science I, II, and III, Medical Terminology, and Clinical Studies. Her work has included preparing students for NHA certifications like the Patient Care Technician (PCT), Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPhT), and Certified EKG Technician.
Once an uncertain new CTE instructor, Rhonda has used AES for nine years to better manage her classroom and become an accomplished educator.
A Passion to Inspire Future Healthcare Workers
Rhonda has been a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for more than 30 years, in addition to serving as a first responder as part of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team. Despite her success in the medical field, Rhonda couldn’t help but think about the possibility of giving back and teaching future healthcare professionals as a CTE health science instructor.
She took a position as a health science educator at Pendleton High School, teaching CTE students Health Science I, II, and III and Clinical Studies. "I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into," Rhonda admits.
Like many first-year health science teachers, Rhonda didn’t have a formal background in education. Coming from the healthcare industry, she was surprised by the number of challenges new teachers face in their classrooms.
"With four preps and all of the things that go along with it, I was just in over my head," she shares.
Faced with an overwhelming amount of planning, grading, and organizing for her courses, Rhonda knew she needed extra help to make it through her first year as a teacher.
A New Way to Manage Multiple Health Science Classes
Rhonda pursued professional development for new CTE teachers in South Carolina, learning from others who had already transitioned from healthcare workers to health science educators. She was assigned a mentor teacher who used AES to teach students in her classroom.
When she saw firsthand how HealthCenter21 helped students in her mentor's class learn and master health science concepts, she started a free trial to try it with her own students.
Rhonda quickly discovered that AES saved her hours in the classroom. The AES curriculum system gave her the planning and assessment tools she needed to manage 130 learners across four health science classes.
Printing out worksheets helped her better serve students with special accommodations, including English Language Learners (ELLs), while the hands-on activities included in the AES curriculum helped her diversify her instruction.
Using the automatically graded assessments and worksheets in HealthCenter21, Rhonda saved precious hours in the classroom–time she spent growing as an instructor and investing in her students’ success.
Empowering Students as a HOSA Advisor
Along with her role as an instructor, Rhonda acts as an advisor for her school's chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals. Competing in HOSA events competitions offers students valuable opportunities to hone their skills and develop leadership qualities desirable in the healthcare industry.
However, being a successful HOSA advisor is a significant time commitment for a teacher. Not every educator has the time to lead students and take them to conferences and competitions.
Using the AES curriculum system has given Rhonda extra hours to become a leading HOSA advisor in South Carolina. And since the AES curriculum is aligned with HOSA competitive events, it has also given her students extra opportunities to practice for HOSA competitions.
"Because [AES is] a standards-aligned curriculum," Rhonda discovered, her students "could practice and practice and practice and go into their competitions very confident."
In recent years, Rhonda has taken as many as 30 students every year to South Carolina's state-level HOSA competition. In 2022, several of her students qualified for the international HOSA competition and conference in Nashville, Tennessee.