She’s got that art for teaching

Kegley named BD Teacher of the Year


Allison Kegley helps a student during art class. Kegley was recently named the Ben Davis Teacher of the Year.

Fatiha Biodun-Lawal, staff writer

Allison Kegley never saw herself as a high school teacher. In college, Kegley saw herself working in graphic design or advertising. Then she went back to her high school.

“I studied advertising, but then I always loved art, and I started working at my old school doing social work,” Kegley said. “All of a sudden, I was like, I really like being here, and I don’t want to just work with students who have problems.

“That’s fine, but I wanted to do great things too. A job opened up at the art department there, but I couldn’t get it, because I wasn’t certified. So I went back to school, and got my master’s in Secondary Education.”

Nearly 16 years later, Kegley, an art teacher, has been named Teacher of the Year at Ben Davis.

“I always loved my teachers,” Kegley said. “Of course I had some mean ones, and some were whatever. I always loved hanging around adults, like my mom and her friends, and even neighbours. Also, I come from a town where, not only did you know your teachers, but they might live down the street from you.”

Like most teachers, Kegley had a favorite one while growing up.

“I definitely had a favorite teacher, Mr. Houpt,” Kegley said. “He was so funny, and crazy, and he  made me enjoy history class, because I hated it. He made me start any elective I could in the social studies, sections that he taught, just so I could have him, because he was so fun.”

Kegley has been at Ben Davis for 10 years and has 13 years at Wayne Township. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois and her masters in secondary education from the University of Phoenix.

She thinks Houpt would be proud of the teacher she has become.

“Yes, I would definitely say that,” Kegley said. “And the other teachers who made a personal relationship with me, and thought that I was important or something too. He was definitely the inspirational one, but I also have several, that I still keep in touch with.”

There is no doubt what she loves about teaching.

“Honestly, I love art, but I can do art on my own,” she said. “ I didn’t need to become a teacher to do art, but it makes me continually want to  learn, and practice and want to do better.

“I think the best part though, is working with teenagers. I think they’re funny and they want to do  well in their lives. And they want a role model who just shows them how to be. And I’m not perfect, but I’m at least a good role model, and I can show them where I came from, and what I did in terms of mistakes. And how I got to be more successful.”

As with most teachers, Kegley says she gets as much as she gives.

“Sometimes there are students who are so good at art, and I see them use a new approach to something that I’ve always taught in a certain way, and I see them do it differently,” she said. “So they teach me constantly, but I just learn a lot. It’s funny how there are so many things that I just learn from my students talking about it, doing it or seeing it. My friends, since they’re not in a high school constantly, they’re like what does that even mean? And I’m like, I guess i just learn from them, in terms of social type things too.”

She also admits there are negatives about her profession.

“Of course, there’s gonna be struggles, but I think what hurts me the most, and brings me down is whenever it gets to a grading period,” she said. “I get so saddened because I have to enter in missing work. And I hate entering a zero or an F, because that kid simply just didn’t turn something in. So when someone unfortunately chooses to fail by just simply not doing stuff, that bothers me a lot because I know that they can do it, and they should do it.

“You don’t have to be a perfect A+ student, but you can definitely pass. So that is the hardest part, seeing  people not care.

Kegley has advice for anyone seeking a career in teaching.

“I constantly change, but two things that constantly remain the same, are that I always want to teach respect and responsibility,” she said. “So those things go hand in hand. But also, I’ll always respect you if you respect me too. Even if you disrespect me, I’m going to come back and forgive you, and I’ll respect you still, because that’s part of it. You get over it and you move on.”