Vicki Bacon teaches AP Biology, the Medical Microbiology Career and Technical Education (CTE) course, and is Science Department Chair at Frenship High School.
She has been a teacher at Frenship High School for 13 years. She said she knew she wanted to become a teacher when she was inspired by her own science teacher as a child.
“I think I always knew I was going to be a teacher,” Bacon said. “I don’t know what it was, I just always liked school. I went to a really small high school, White Deer High School, so I had the same teachers year after year.”
Bacon said that it was her high school science teacher’s influence and ability to go above and beyond to engage students that inspired her to become a science teacher.
“My science teacher was a woman named Jesse Brantwein, and I had her all four years of science,” Bacon said. “She knew how to make things interesting, and she always did things that she didn’t have to do.”
Bacon said that last school year and this school year have been unlike any other that she has taught. She said that as a teacher, she has learned to pivot quickly and change things up when necessary.
“I was given a section of Virtual Learning students to teach [at the beginning of the school year] and take care of myself,” Bacon said. “Slowly as the conditions have improved in the county, and as the number of Virtual Learning students has dropped, I do not have a Virtual Learning section anymore. That has been the story of this year; every week you get a new job and are transitioning your teaching.”
Bacon said the bright side of the pandemic for her is that she has been able to use it as a real-life example with her Medical Microbiology students.
“Medical Microbiology is a new class under the Career and Technical Education (CTE) umbrella,” Bacon said. “It is for those students that want to be in the medical field as they go on and graduate. This class is very hands on and is like something they will see in college. It has been a great year for the discussions about COVID and the precautions everyone is taking now. I think they are really understanding why we are using masks because we have discussed airborne transmission of diseases. They know why we are washing our hands so often because we have experimented and put our dirty fingers on petri plates and can clearly see how germs get spread that way.”
Bacon went on to explain that she has also been using the pandemic as an example in her AP Biology class. She said that she and her classes have been discussing the COVID-19 vaccine.
“AP Biology is mostly focused on cellular biology,” Bacon said. “I have been able to talk about the creation of the Maderna and Pfiser vaccines and how they are messenger RNA, and what does that mean, and what is that messenger RNA going to do in your cells, and how is that going to be read by your cells to end up helping your immune system.”
Bacon said she was excited to hear that she was nominated and won the Amazing Teacher Award. She said she wasn’t sure it was real at first.
“I am really proud of the work I have done this year,” Bacon said. “It has been a hard year. I was called upon to help and write lesson plans for substitutes this year. It was quite a load, and it is not just me. Teachers everywhere have been asked this year to do things that they have never done before. We are trying to build the plane as we fly it. What I can say is, we are doing our best. We want our students to be successful. We want them to know that they are valued. We are glad for every effort they are making. We are proud of them and I hope they are proud of us, too.”
Amy Baker, Frenship’s CTE Coordinator, was the one who nominated Bacon for the Amazing Teacher Award. She said that Bacon has been a team leader in and out of the classroom this year.
“She really has a heart for the kids and truly loves what she does, and it radiates,” Baker said. “She cares about students and their well-being. She truly deserves to be named an Amazing Teacher because she is exactly that.”