Pat Bengert, one of Gibson Southern’s most experienced teachers


Sean DeLong

Pat Bengert has been teaching at Gibson Southern for 33 years. He changed teaching areas from history to physical education in the 2021-2022 school year.

Did your parents have Mr. Bengert? If they grew up in the South Gibson community, the answer is probably yes! Pat Bengert attended Evansville North High School and then attended USI for college. Bengart has been teaching at Gibson Southern for 33 years, starting in 1990. 

Southerner: Why have you decided to stay teaching at Gibson Southern for so long?

Bengert: “It’s a good school to teach at. Ninety-nine percent of the kids are good kids, the community is good and the parents are good. There is no reason to leave.”

Southerner: Why did you decide to become a gym teacher after being a history teacher for a long time?

Bengert: “After so long, I was looking for something different, and I always thought about teaching PE. It’s quite different and you’re not in a classroom all day long; you got two gyms to monitor. I also like the physical part of PE. In a nutshell, I was just looking for something different to do.”

Southerner: What career did your parents expect you to have before you became a teacher?

Bengert: “I think my parents just expected me to go to college, that was always an assumption that they didn’t care what I went into. When I originally went into college, I went into radio broadcasting. I had taken a class at Evansville Central because they had a radio station, and that’s what I originally started school for.”

Southerner: What would the students be surprised to find out about you?

Bengert:  “I have seven brothers and no sisters.”

Southerner: If you won the lottery and decided to give up teaching, what would you do instead?

Bengert: “I would definitely work for Habitat for Humanity building homes. I like construction, and I like volunteer work. I would definitely do that.”

Southerner: How do you show your school spirit?

Bengert: “I just talk to the athletes, I talk to the students and I try to go to the events. I don’t necessarily dress up, but I just try to go to events and support athletes when I talk to them in the hallway or support other students in the hallway for their extra-curriculars.”

Southerner: What makes a ‘good day’ at school?

Bengert: “For PE, everyone participates, I don’t have to get on anybody for cussing and nobody gets hurt.”

Southerner: What’s a school sport or activity you enjoy watching?

Bengert: “I like them all. I coached football for a long time, so I really enjoy watching football and interacting with some of the players who play football. Some of the other sports I don’t understand as much, but I always enjoy watching  pretty much every sport.”

Southerner: How long did you coach football for?

Bengert: “Between middle school and high school, 21 years.”

Southerner: How do you remember all of your students’ names?

Bengert: “You just try to associate something they’ve done in class. It’s hard, especially in PE, because they’re up and moving around all the time and you only get like five minutes when they’re sitting in their seats. So, you just try to associate them with something with their face, their name, an activity that they did to try and make it stand out. It’s usually an association of some sort.”

Southerner: If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?

Bengert: “Put down the phone and talk to people. I get so many students where everything has to be escalated so quickly; it has to be a drama. All you really have to do is talk to somebody.”

Southerner: How do you want students to feel about the time spent in your classroom?

Bengert: “I want them to feel confident in themselves from lifting. A lot of students don’t particularly enjoy PE at all. If they can have a good time, that’s the big thing. If they can glean some knowledge they took with them a little bit, whether that be financially, or something that they can use their wisdom for.”

Southerner: If you could grow up in any decade, which would you choose?

Bengert: “I’d go back to the 1770s because the country was changing so fast. It’s just got to be an unbelievable time to see how a country and a nation is formed, from being a government teacher that’s probably what I would do from that perspective.”

Southerner:What song do you know all the lyrics to?

Bengert: “‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.”

Southerner: If money were no object, what would you do?

Bengert: “Make sure my family is always taken care of. I really enjoy traveling, so that’s what I’d do.”