Anita Bond HCHS

Anita Bond of Rockton teaches 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade Sociology. She has taught for 13 years, all at Hononegah. She sometimes refers to herself as a learning engineer though. “It’s their process; it’s about their development; my job is to create a process and a path where they construct learning. Bond’s reach actually goes far beyond Rockton. In addition to sharing tips in Facebook groups, Bond manages a TikTok channel for teachers, on which she shares lesson plans, ideas and advice about lesson plans, wisdom and balancing units. She has more than 49.6 THOUSAND followers! Hononegah School Counselor Heather Hardwick wrote, “other teachers around the world follow her to get insight and advice as they navigate the education profession. Another aspect of her TikTok account is seeing students’ reactions to her account.” Hardwick also recounted that a student ranked 1 of 452 seniors told her, “Mrs. Bond is hands down the best teacher I have ever had at Hononegah. She worked hard to help us learn and make history interesting. I have never had another teacher like her.” Margaret Moore has an inside view as the parent of former students of Bond’s and as a colleague. One of her sons earned the opportunity to take a graduate level political science course as a college freshman. He told her to tell Bond that she “had created a beast.” When Moore told Bond, she tearfully responded, “This is exactly what I want for my students.” Moore says that Bond, “designs her curriculum with her students at the forefront of her mind and works incredibly hard to create a learning environment that promotes critical analysis and thoughtful reflections of history and culture. Anita does not shy away from difficult topics but approaches them with respect and kindness.” Observers of Bond’s classrooms were indeed impressed by the tough topics presented (attitudes about drug use or police) and the solid respect between teacher and students. Everyone seemed engaged and comfortable asking questions or giving opinions. Bond also checked in to see how students’ opinions may or may not have changed from the start to the end of class. She says, “It would be easier for everyone if we just memorize what happened and then spit it out on a test – I don’t do that. Unit exams are all extended response … the beauty of this assessment strategy is that it allows students at any level of skill to feel accomplished. Neurodivergent students and students with special needs have the same opportunity as my honors students to showcase what they have learned appropriate to their level, rather than to worry about questions that were confusing, literacy challenges or time constraints. It also asks students to make sense of what history means to them in their social experience.” Bond also wants her students to see a view of the world outside the classroom, so she introduces diversity to them in many ways. Her Sociology students all visit the Rockford Rescue Mission every year to “understand the compounding causes of homelessness and poverty. Many of them have been raised in safe, stable homes, but empathy requires experiences like this. It’s one lesson that I can guarantee 100% participation in the learning process. When the students see the need, they are eager to help and really work – hair nets and all.” Moore’s son told her that what makes Bond special is that she “challenges each student individually and empowers them to want to learn.”