Chris Hensley’s path to education is not a typical one.
Hensley served in the United States Air Force where he was a bomb technician and then went onto to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Masters of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He then went on to work in the field of research before deciding to accept a teaching position at Givhans Alternative Program.
Hensley said that he chose to become a teacher because he wanted to give back to others and work with children.
“I always thought education was very important,” Hensley explained.
Hensley explained that the children at Givhans Alternative Program can bring some problems but you learn to work through it and work with them not against them.
“You don’t take things personally, and try to see things from their point of view,” Hensley said.
Hensley explained that in an environment like Givhans it is important to keep a calm demeanor and remain patience with all students.
“I never lose my patience, I never lose my temper,” Hensley explained.
Hensley said that he appreciates everything that his students bring to the classroom. He enjoys hearing about their experiences and the stories about themselves and their lives.
“I enjoy the interactions,” he said. “Just talk to them and get to know them, they’ll talk to you,” he said.
Hensley said that at Givhans the students have a good understanding of respect and that it is important to have a reputation with the students of doing the right thing but also working with them.
“They know I’m gonna follow the rules, but I pay attention to them,” he explained.
Hensley said that he volunteers around the school whenever and wherever he can be of assistance. He helps with the buses, he raises and lowers the flags and walking kids to and from classes. He said that it is important for him to be a calming presence and be a stable figure around the school.
Hensley explained however that his most important place is in the classroom. He said that his students need to be challenged in the classroom, but they need to be helped through the challenges too.
“They need a challenge and they need support through that challenge,” he explained.
Hensley said that he enjoys the atmosphere at Givhans because he is allowed to take different approaches to teaching. He also said that the faculty is extremely caring and it can be seen in the way that they treat the students and work with them.
“We are all here to help these kids,” he said.
He said that Givhans is a family and the school is full of selfless people from the principals to the staff that handle day to day operations.
“It’s really like a team or a family, we live as a community,” Hensley said.