School: Bedford Middle School
Years as an Educator: 15
Currently Teaches: 7th grade Civics & Economics
* 2015-2016 Bedford Middle School Teacher of the Year
* 2015-2016 Bedford Area Educational Foundation Grant Recipient-Digital Makerspace
* 2014-2015 Stonewall Jackson Middle School Teacher of the Year
* 2011 Richmond Flying Squirrels Baseball Teacher of the Year Nominee
* 2002-2003 Stonewall Jackson Middle School Beginning Teacher of the Year
* Lynchburg College, Master of Education-Educational Leadership (present)
* Virginia Commonwealth University, Master of Education-Special Education
* Lynchburg College, Bachelor of Arts-Early Childhood Development
Why did you become a teacher?
Ever since I was old enough to remember, I had remarkable teachers who invested their time and energy into my future. Their nurturing support in my formative years was instrumental in my decision to become a teacher. Particularly Mrs. Palmer, who instilled the importance of character and self-determination.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It's all about the students! Walking into the classroom each and every day seeing a room full of smiling students ready and eager to learn. I love reaching the needs of all my students through creative, innovative and differentiated instruction. The joy of teaching is seeing sparks go off when students grasp content material and make connections with the past and present.
What are your biggest challenges?
Competing for my students' attention and desire for technology while providing and promoting innovative learning experiences with that same technology is an ongoing challenge. In addition, differentiated instruction utilizing technology can be difficult with limited resources.
Looking back at your career, what would you say is your greatest personal accomplishment?
In 2013, a student asked if I would sponsor her participation in the National History Bee, and I was able to recruit three more. The next year, I held a school-wide competition with over 80 students battling for one of four spots. After three years, the National History Bee became a county-wide competition with schools working together to prepare history buffs for the national competition. It is a rewarding feeling to see students soar and exceed their own expectations.
Describe a favorite memory with your students.
My all-time favorite memory was of a 1920s unit. In collaboration with the school librarians, we turned the library into a 1920s speakeasy. Along with 1920s décor, stations were set up around the library. They included activities with 1920s slang words, a costume photo booth for students, KaHoot trivia and dancing the Charleston. Students were excited, engaged and quite impressed their teacher would dance the Charleston with them!
If you could pass along one thing to others about the education field, what would it be?
One daily contribution to education is something I think may be the smallest and easiest act: be kind. Students model behaviors from their teachers, and as much as we desire academic success, being kind never goes out of style. Teach kindness!
From Her Nomination:
"Ms. Hott is the type of teacher that will go above and beyond whether she was recognized as a Top Teacher or not. She truly cares for her students and puts in long hours to prepare lessons that promote critical thinking and application. She cares about the students that have less than others and she always advocates for their needs." -Rhetta Watkins,
principal at Bedford Middle School