When it comes to the education of our children, parents are always looking for the best in an educator to ensure a quality education for the next generation. That’s why Karlee Dodson, sixth-grade social studies teacher at Boston Middle School, is such a great teacher. She teaches her students about the western world in regards to economics, history, and the geography of Europe and The West. She loves teaching her students, and doesn’t just teach them social studies; she also teaches them positive life skills.
Dodson grew up in La Porte and attended University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, where she obtained her teaching degree. She began her career in education teaching math at Michigan City High School. Eventually, a job opening became available at La Porte’s Boston Middle School for a teaching position in social studies, her specialty, and she eagerly took the position.
The La Porte native then moved to Valpo with her husband, Kris, who also teaches social studies at Boston Middle School.
“I just enjoy it,” said Dodson on her passion for teaching. “The kids make you laugh, the kids make you smile every day. No two days are the same, because you’re with pre-teens and they’re always saying something or doing something to make you smile or make you laugh.”
It takes a very special kind of person to teach middle school children, and Dodson is no exception. Her own inspiration for maintaining such a high teaching standard came from the teachers that she had growing up.
“I had some really good middle school teachers,” explained Dodson. “I know middle school can be a difficult time for kids. You know, they’re all hitting puberty at the same time, and they’re all very insecure and they need love and attention at that age. I think me having really good middle school teachers inspired me to do the same, to be the same for these kids. To be a teacher they could look back on and enjoy, or come to if they need help.”
Dodson feels like she’s especially suited to providing that for the youngsters at Boston Middle School.
“I guess I’ve always had that caretaker mentality, where I just like to take care of people. I love being a mom, I love being a teacher. I like being with the students and helping them out. I like when the students have that ‘aha’ moment or things click in their head. I’ve always liked helping and taking care of people and being in that caretaker role.”
Dodson may have a caretaker personality, but she also believes in maintaining a high degree of academic integrity.
“I hold my students to a really high standard,” said Dodson. “I try to help them become young adults who make good decisions. I don’t coddle them; I like to help them. I always tell them, ‘I will help you, I will lend an ear, I will help you out no matter what. You can ask me a million questions, but I’m going to hold you to a very high standard and I’m going to expect you to act like a young adult in here.’ I think students appreciate that when all is said and done. While they’re in my class it’s harder. I try to be fun and I try to be very nice and charismatic and all those things that kids love, but I hold them to a really high standard.”
Dodson’s high standards for her students result in high praise. She once received a teacher of the year award from Izzit.org, and continues impacting the lives of the next generation of Northwest Indiana students. With a teacher like Dodson, the children at Boston Middle School can be assured to receive the best education available.