Student champion: Beth Hammett wins online teacher of the year
For her excellence and compassion, students voted professor Beth Hammett College of the Mainland online teacher of the year.
“Professor Hammett understands the anxiety that often surrounds the writing process, and she uses technology to make writing more meaningful and engaging for the connected student. She is an approachable teacher who cares about the success of her students. The students who nominated her commented on her ability to make English a less intimidating subject,” said Brian Anderson, chair of the Humanities Department.
As a former community college student, Beth Hammett relates to each of her students, whether they are high school students taking dual credit or returning to college after several years.
“I didn’t go back to community college until I was 30. I had four kids at home and my husband had an accident at work and was disabled. I prayed, ‘Dear God if you help me get this degree then I’ll help other people,’” said Hammett.
Hammett now assists her online students in Composition 1 and Composition 2 with learning to research and write college essays.
For students who need extra help, she hosts tutoring sessions on Saturdays at a local McDonald’s. To understand literature and writing, Hammett plays survival games with students as they create a character and explore how he or she might respond to crisis.
To spark students’ interest, Hammett allows students to choose any disputed topic or conspiracy theory to research and write about.
“It really makes them question where their beliefs and information come from. Nearly everyone believes in some conspiracy theory,” said Hammett. “One student looked at Marilyn Monroe’s death and another researched Obama’s birth certificate.”
Students publish their works on a class blog, adding videos and photos.
“They have a worldwide audience with the blog,” said Hammett. “They get excited to see comments from Japan and other countries.”
Recently COM was ranked in the top ten on Affordable Colleges Online 2016-2017 list of Best Online Colleges in Texas. COM offers courses, certificates and degrees that can be completely entirely online.