Shelly Forbes shares her view on student potential

Jill Stone

Shelly Forbes is an AP Physics teacher at EHS, and she sees great things in her students. Forbes hopes that her students can understand the faith that she has in them but also the potential that they can find in themselves. “I don’t know if they take it away. I wish they could take away how I see them. I see my students and I see all the potential in the world. And my students, especially [those] who struggle. [Those] who work hard to maybe just to make a B in my class. I think they’re brilliant. And they are.

And I wish they could see themselves the way I see them,” said Forbes. Forbes understands the importance of students feeling that they are supported and appreciated. She herself claims she feels that she is held in high regard at EHS. She said, “I feel valued every day. I feel valued by administrators here. All the way up to the central office. So yes, I feel very valued. Like what I do is appreciated.”

EHS values Forbes so much that she was awarded both the Teacher of the Year Award and the Teacher Excellence Award in 2009. “It’s validating. The Teacher of the Year award carries more weight than the Teacher Excellence award because [the Teacher of the Year award] is voted on by your peers. It’s teachers and administrators that vote on that. So when your colleagues vote for you and you win something like that, it carries more weight. It’s more meaningful.

But as far as I felt as a teacher, I didn’t feel like I was a great teacher because I got that award. It didn‘t change anything about how I felt about myself or my teaching…When you get an award, that’s nice, but you still have all your same insecurities and all of your anxieties. That doesn’t go away. You just now have a plaque to go with it,” said Forbes.

Forbes feels that she is fulfilling her calling to be a teacher because it is her passion. “The best thing is being with students. I get a real sense of well-being while spending time with students. The first couple of weeks of school when we are doing nothing but in-service are not a lot of fun to me, and so I just have to remind myself that kids are coming, and when my students are in my room and the doors closed, we’re doing our things, all’s right in my world. That’s why I’ve never pursued becoming an administrator or a counselor or anything else in education. Because that’s what I love, is teaching,” said Forbes.

Forbes graduated high school from McGehee, Arkansas, and was inspired to become a teacher because many women in her family were teachers.  “I come from a long line of educators. My grandmother, mother, and aunts were teachers. It was just kind of the direction I was supposed to go,” said Forbes. Forbes has a bachelor’s in science and education with an emphasis in biology and physics. She has been teaching for 29 years collectively and has taught at several different schools including Parker’s Chapel, Barton Jr. High School, and El Dorado High School. She has been at EHS for 20 years.

Something that Forbes’ students may not know about her is that she was on Jeopardy three different times and she won two of those games. Forbes also loves to decorate her classroom with art and prints that she loves. “I think most of my [interests] are kind of on display in [my classroom]. I’m a Lord of the Rings nerd. Most of the art prints I chose either because I particularly like [them] or [because] I’ve seen [them in person],” said Forbes. Some of Forbes’ favorite works include works by Picasso, Monet, van Gogh, and Dahli.

Although Forbes loves teaching and has greatly enjoyed her time at EHS, she plans to retire after this school year is over. She said, “I’m gonna do some traveling. My husband and I are planning a trip hopefully in the fall…One of the things we both really want to do is an Amazon cruise.”