Teachers are Heroes: Hanahan Middle's Brittany Biggane strives to impact as many lives as possible
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Pictured above are Ms. Biggane (center) and some of her students after she learned she was the 2018-19 Hanahan Middle Teacher of the Year. (BCSD photo)
The importance of helping others was something instilled in Brittany Biggane at an early age. Living in a small town anchored by its schools and teachers, she quickly realized through childhood experiences that teachers have a positive impact on many lives.
That’s when Ms. Biggane’s desire to teach, like so many other passionate educators, was born. As she reflects upon the teachers who played the largest roles in her life, she’s reminded that a large part of being a teacher is simply about creating positive relationships with students and families.
“In recent years, my hometown has lost some of our most influential teachers and community members to illnesses or age,” she said. “When this happens, the whole community mourns and grieves together. My High School P.E. teacher passed away this winter from cancer. I am often reminded of something he used to say, ‘Hug the little ones.’ He was a larger than life character who exemplified the town and schools where I grew up. We teach, not for the summers off or getting out of school before 4 p.m., it is about the kids and making sure that they are loved and cared for.”
As Hanahan Middle School’s (HMS) 2018-19 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Biggane is now having her own lasting impact on children. Among her greatest attributes, her principal says, are her patience, reliability, compassion and trustworthiness.
“She makes sure that every student in her class has their needs met, whether that means bringing in treats for them when they have had a great week or calling parents to let them know they’ve had an off day,” HMS Principal Robin Rogers said. “The students in her class are treated like her own children, and care for them shows in her positive relationships with them.”
Like many other educators, Ms. Biggane does not limit her impact to the classroom, and Mr. Rogers said that helps her students academically and socially as they prepare to transition from middle school to high school. As a teacher of children with special needs, Ms. Biggane uses many approaches to instruction that can’t be found in most textbooks. She also puts a priority on opportunities she has to serve her students and their families outside of the classroom.
“Too many students deal with tough issues that I cannot imagine having to go through at their age. I feel that it is my personal responsibility to mentor them in any way possible,” she said.
Along those lines, she’s visited students at home and at the hospital. She also has served as a babysitter at times when the parents of her students were in need.
“One of my favorite experiences is when my buddy teacher and I babysat a set of twin boys that we had, to help their mother who was a single mom and worked full-time while going to school,” she said. “While we babysat for her, the boys helped clean up the house and we all made a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs together. When their mom got home, she cried tears of joy. I felt so lucky to have been able to help alleviate her workload and give her the night off.”
As she continues to look for ways to positively impact the lives of her students, Ms. Biggane says she draws inspiration from those “buddy teachers.” She describers self as “lucky” to have found herself at Hanahan Middle and in the position to learn from other members of the team.
“I have only worked at Hanahan Middle in Berkeley County, but I know that it's the right place for me. I cannot say enough amazing things about our administration and faculty. Our principals always have our backs no matter what the situation and I am proud to work hard for them,” she said.
“I am so glad to be a teacher and be in the position to help others. I would love to put more time into my community as I develop as a teacher, but I am very proud of what I have done in the past few years.”
* This article is one of several showcasing hero teachers in Berkeley County School District. All articles in the series can be viewed in the special section.