Fellow Profile: Benton Wise

About Benton

Instructional Designer, Principled Technologies 

TeachHouse is about bringing people together to listen to the voices of young teachers. Their commitment to amplifying these voices is innovative as so many policies and policy-makers have forsook them, leading to conditions where more children aren't being served. 

Benton Wise hails from Marion, South Carolina.  A Benjamin Newton Duke scholar, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke University in 2013, majoring in Public Policy. He then decided to take his lessons into a career for education. In 2014, Benton earned his Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in teaching social studies from Duke. Upon graduation, Benton decided to move back to his home state and start teaching as a rural educator in Lake City, SC.  After a challenging first year of teaching, moved back up to the Triangle to join TeachHouse and took a position at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability. He left the classroom in 2017 to work in privatized eLearning.  He believes the teacher in the classroom makes a difference in students’ lives, from encouraging students to seize growth opportunities to challenging each individual to widen their perspective.  As an educator who looks to inform policy, Benton Wise trusts that education is essential to bridging gaps and tackling the adaptive challenges of our society.  

How has Duke TeachHouse influenced you as an educator? 

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot but I wouldn’t have thought about at all without being a part of TeachHouse is Savannah’s reflection on education in Finland versus in the US. When she asked a student what their favorite thing about school was, the student said “Lunch!” She was referencing the actual meal, as opposed to just the time with her friends.

I don’t think even our hungriest students would say that about American public education lunch or breakfast. I think oftentimes the narrative is that since it is “free & reduced lunch” and students are getting it for free, they shouldn’t complain. However, the radical way to think about it is why aren’t we feeding our children the best food for their bodies and minds. Any answer that isn’t “we should start doing that right now” means that we just do not see all of our children as all of our children. When you expand that thinking into asking “Are we taking good care of our future?”, you quickly get some radical answers and thoughts. I would never have thought through all this without TeachHouse and the chance to listen to and learn from my fellow residents.