Teacher Ben Hughes teaches life lessons


Teacher Ben Hughes at his desk. Hughes integrate important life lessons during his normal class lessons.

Claire Bigrigg, Staff Writer

High School students need to learn certain life skills so they can flourish in the real world as adults. Some students do not learn these skills at home, so teachers like Ben Hughes are very impactful. 

Ben Hughes is a history teacher at the high school known for teaching APUSH, World War II, and Holocaust. He does not only teach those subjects to his students though, he also tries to teach them how to live in the real world and gives them advice and as much help as possible. 

Aliyah Priest is a sophomore in Hughes’ Holocaust class. 

“He has probably given a five to 10-minute speech almost every class and some have lasted for 30-40 minutes,” Priest said. 

One of the speeches he gave to Priests’ class was about how to do taxes, which made her think about whether or not she has to file taxes. 

While students love learning about current events and life, teachers going off of their lesson plans is a controversial subject.

 “I do think it is good he is teaching us things about life because lots of teachers don’t and adults assume we know things we don’t,” Priest said.

Hughes’ speeches can vary from topic to topic, and one of the topics Hughes spoke on that made an impact on Priest was that teachers are real people and students should treat them with more respect.

“Lots of students act as the teachers aren’t real people but his speeches about respect, when he shows how he really feels, makes them seem more human,” Priest said. 

It is hard to get students to truly listen to teachers even when what they are saying can benefit their lives.  

“Around half the students just seem to blow him off and don’t really listen but the other half really listens and it turns into a discussion,” Priest said. 

Hughes started doing his “life lessons” several years ago when he realized his seniors were not ready and did not have much knowledge of the real world. 

Hughes talks about many different subjects.

Whether it was financial, work ethic, college loans, trade schools, punctuality or other deficiencies,” Hughes said. 

He does not have these planned out in advance, but whenever the opportunity arises he takes them. For instance, when Ukraine threatened Russia he had a whole class talk about it. 

“It is nothing planned, but simply when I hear a conversation happening that needs to be corrected or elaborated on, a life lesson begins,” Hughes said.

Many of his life lesson speeches are for seniors to try and help get them prepared for life after high school.  

I think one day there was a question and answer session for around an hour, and it covered a wide range of items that students will deal with as they leave GlenOak,” Hughes said 

He also gives speeches to his younger grades about issues in the world, how to treat people, jobs and many other things these young students need to know about. 

While, yes, teachers are there to teach students the material they need to learn academic wise, teachers can also help guide students through the world and teach them valuable lessons.

My job is to teach AP US History first and foremost, but if I can impart some wisdom or advice on students to take with them into adulthood I will try to do that as well,” Hughes said. 

Hughes is dedicated to teaching his students while simultaneously trying to teach them how to live in the real world.

 “I have two guiding principles in my life that I was raised on: Respect and Hard Work. I always drive those beliefs home as often as I can to my students,” Hughes said.

So next time you go to talk to your teacher or peer, remember what Hughes has taught you about living in the real world.