When she first came into class, she was wearing a pair of jeans, a sweater and a fresh pair of sneakers, with her hair in long dreadlocks.
No, this isn’t a description of a student at Northern Kentucky University, but a professor. Chances are that if you are an education major, you have had a class with, or have at least heard about, Bettina Love.
“Dr. Love is an amazing teacher,” said Katie West, a secondary education major. “She talks about things that students need to learn, but no one else will say.”
Although Love has only been teaching at NKU for two years, she has grabbed the attention and respect of students in the College of Education.
English education major Katie Merrit said, “Her method of teaching is so profound and can easily be translated into practical use. I learn how to develop my own philosophy of education and how to apply it to my classroom.”
Love’s traveling teaching career has taken her to four states — New York, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky. She is returning to Georgia at the end of this semester. “If I didn’t have a family, I’d be a gypsy,” Love said. “If I could move every four or five years I would do that … it keeps you fresh, it keeps you motivated, you don’t get stale.”
Love has taught in elementary and high school classrooms, and has focused on teaching classes like Introduction to Education at the collegiate level. In that class, Dr. Love is able to share her passion for teaching to her students, while showing just how important teachers can be to them.
On top of being a college professor and writing a book about how hip-hop music influences education, she has started up The Kindezi School, her own charter school in Atlanta, Ga. The school has kindergarten through third grade classes, but Love plans to go up to eighth grade.
She has been on the school board for two years, but The Kindezi School opened its doors this year.
Love strives to prepare future teachers for the pressures and joys of teaching. She stresses the fact that the classes within the education program “aren’t for you, it’s for the kids.”
Even when a student says that he or she does not think they are meant to teach, she knows she is doing a good job.
“Those kids out there deserve 125 percent. When someone says, ‘I’m not cut out for this,’ that’s what you want … I want them to be honest with themselves,” Love said.
There are five weeks left in the 2011 spring semester before Love leaves for the University of Georgia. Though she is leaving, it is apparent that she has left an impression on her students.
“I’ve met some incredible students—people that are not only passionate about education, but just so focused in their second year of wanting to be a teacher. You just can’t get that everywhere,” Love said. “It’s not about me—I want them to be great.”
Story by Brandon Barb