Natalie Hancock's class isn't your mama's Family and Consumer Sciences class. The Jordan High teacher infuses her curriculum with education technology, math and science — even social media platforms — to help kids make connections between her classes and the real world. For her "flipped classroom" efforts, Hancock was named the Teacher of the Year by the Utah Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Hancock was surprised with the statewide recognition at the association's fall conference opening session Nov. 1, 2013 at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center in downtown Salt Lake City. She was selected following a peer nomination process. UAFCS is a statewide professional organization for K-12 family and consumer science teachers and educators at Utah State University extensions.
"It's a very big honor for me just to be recognized among my peers," said Hancock, who is in her sixth year of teaching. "It makes me strive to work even harder to make my classroom and teaching even better for students, so they have a desire to come to school, gain more knowledge and further their education to be college- and career-ready."
Hancock was honored for implementing the flipped-classroom concept at Jordan High, UAFCS Board President Suzanne Dent said. Hancock's students receive instruction at home on the computer, and use their knowledge the next day for robust classroom discussion.
"She uses the latest technology and really challenges her students in the class. She is very 'connected' with the students and has great success as a FACS Teacher," Dent said.
Hancock started her teaching career six years ago at Eastmont Middle School. While there, she received the 2011 New CTE Teacher Award from the Utah Association of Teachers of Family & Consumer Sciences, a division of the Utah Association of Career & Technical Education. The UATFCS noted Hancock's knack for sparking students' imagination, infusing math and science principles into her curriculum, and continually boosting enrollment in her classes. Hancock teaches family and consumer sciences, foods, and adult roles and financial literacy at Jordan High. She is a member of the UAFCS Board.
"Family and consumer sciences is an area not always taught at home necessarily, and when a student comes to school and makes all those connections with the core curriculum, and when I see the kids light up and realize education can be meaningful to them," Hancock said, "that's the reason I went into teaching."