A-P teacher spotlight: Life lessons with Mr. Benning

Aplington-Parkersburg High School teacher and coach Brian Benning (pictured) has been with the district since 2005. He currently teaches special education social studies and science. (Robert Maharry/Eclipse News-Review photo)

It’s a Monday afternoon at A-P High School, and the students in Brian Benning’s Life Lessons Club are waiting for the bell to dismiss them. Some are tuned out, preoccupied with their phones, and yet others are watching the television screen intently. It’s none other than “The Andy Griffith Show”—the episode is “Stranger in Town,” and the message is that kids should learn to be inviting and accepting rather than hateful and suspicious of each other.

“Every one of these has a lesson to it, and you can apply it to everyday life,” he said. “(It’s) just a conversation with the kids on how to treat people… The classroom stuff, I try to make it hit home as much as possible.”

Benning, who grew up just north of Wellsburg along Highway 20, graduated from Ackley-Geneva and wrestled at UNI, loves history, coaching, movies and the kinds of lessons that he’s picked up in 25 years as a teacher.

It was actually a desire to coach that drew him into the world of education: when Benning started at UNI, high school coaches had to be teachers, but the rule was scrapped before his senior year in college. Still, by that point, he’d already worked for three years toward a degree in history, which had always been his favorite subject.

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