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Beyond BC: Heather Dodds

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Each staff member in BCCS has a full life outside of school walls. There are forces that drive them and lead them to stand front and center in their lives in many ways. Through this campaign called Beyond BC, we invite staff to showcase their uniqueness and authentic selves. 

For Brooklyn Center Community Schools veteran Heather Dodds, teaching has always been something she was passionate about. She knew she wanted to go into the field of education since she was a little girl, attempting to teach her infant brother the ABC’s. “Being a teacher has always been in the back of my mind. The harder part was figuring out what subject I wanted to teach,” said Dodds. “There is so much variety within the education field that you never get bored.” 

That has certainly been the case for Dodds, who has taught a variety of subjects in her eighteen years at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM. She currently teaches grades 10-12 in college level Political Science, 10th grade World History, Psychology, CIS Psychology and a CN college level sociology class. “I like the challenge of teaching more than one subject,” said Dodds. “One thing I really love about the combination of courses I am teaching right now is how they all connect with each other. You can take current concepts and see how they work together through different lenses.” 

Dodds was hired at BCCS straight out of college and has taught a little of everything over the years in social studies. “Even after all this time, I still have some variety as I move around,” she said. 

As she reflects back over her time as an educator at BCCS, there are a few classes of students that definitely stand out for Dodds. “The times I have the most fun as an educator is when I have students who are genuinely enthusiastic about learning,” she said. “You can tell when they have a natural curiosity and want to engage.” 

For Dodds, teaching civics and governments to seniors is incredibly impactful, given the immediacy of most of them being able to vote and engage in their lessons through a new lens. “It is extra exciting to get them engaged and excited about a subject because it pertains to their current lives,” said Dodds. 

Dodds loves making a difference and helping students realize the importance of what they are learning in school. “I love making an impact,” said Dodds. “I hope they can see the applicability of what they are learning and how they can apply it to their lives now, and in the future.” 

Dodds has had a front row seat to the changes BCCS has seen over the years. “There have been a lot of great changes throughout the years, and I have really seen the school have a better understanding of the mental health of the staff and the students,” said Dodds. “We have had a larger emphasis and much more training about trauma-informed teaching. I love to hear staff-wide discussion of how we can best support students who are struggling.” 

When it comes to her own self-care and mental health, Dodds turns to her favorite hobby: gardening. “Gardening has turned into a big passion of mine, and it is the perfect teacher hobby because gardening season aligns with my summer holiday,” said Dodds. She plans to spend her whole summer growing fruits and veggies, and has even ventured into canning, pickling, jams and jellies. “Gardening is my ‘me time’ that I use to listen to music or just the birds and the wind. It feels so good to spend time in nature,” she said. 

If Dodds is not gardening or teaching, she is probably spending time with her family, playing cards or watching movies, or even having a family Dungeons & Dragons night. They enjoy spending time vacationing up to the North Shore, spending time outside, and hanging out with their cats Craig and Murray.