The Snarky Schoolteacher’s “Teacher Feature” showcases outstanding educators and the work they do inside of their classrooms every other Thursday. If you’d like to be featured, please fill out our Google form here. All featured educators will receive a Snarky Swag Bag as a token of our appreciation for their time and contribution.
Welcome to this week's edition of Teacher Feature! Today, you will meet Beckie, an 8th grade American History teacher from Colorado. Beckie says that she knew she wanted to become a teacher when she was a senior in high school. She says, "I was the captain of the speech team and it was during that experience that I realized I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others." Her favorite part of being a teacher is her students and and all the weird things they say and do.
A Peek Inside Beckie's Classroom
Beckie says that her students would describe her as "a little crazy, creative, and friendly." Her goal every year is to help her students become masters of their own learning. She guides them to learn how to self-advocate, ask questions, and use technology responsibly and appropriately.
As any teacher knows, the best way to improve student learning is to make the content relevant to the students. Beckie shared a fantastic story about a simulation she did with her students when teaching the Trail of Tears:
For this simulation, I pretended to get an e-mail from the district that said I needed to immediately vacate my room so they could have a tech meeting in it. I arranged with other teachers and staff throughout the day to come kick me out of various spaces in the building. At the same time, students had a worksheet they had to complete. They quickly became frustrated as they could not complete the assignment because we kept moving. Every class period, a student or two caught on to what was going on and would blurt it out. All the students would look at each other and you could see the light bulb turn on in their heads. It was magical.
We love to see how Beckie's classroom is set up for collaborative learning with the students in table groups. The bins of communal supplies at each table ensure that the materials needed for an activity will always be right at hand. We also especially love her "Why Study History?" bulletin board!
Give us a feel-good student story.
My first year as a teacher, I had a student who had been dealt a very poor hand of cards. He had been written off as a hopeless case by many of the other teachers in my building. However, I established a strong connection with the student at the start of the year. A couple months later, I found out that the student had told his case worker that I was the only adult he felt comfortable talking to about things. Making such a strong connection with a student warms my heart!
What advice would you give to pre-service and first year teachers?
Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun with the kids and don't be afraid to let them see your personality.
Do you have any good teacher tips for working smarter, not harder?
You can't do it all. You just can't. Sometimes you have to accept this and seek help.
What is your favorite way to engage in a little self-care during the school year?
I make sure I take time to do something that is not related to school every night. Usually, this involves video games because I am a huge gamer. There is something very relaxing about exploring a new world and completing quests or puzzles.
Thank you so much, Beckie, for giving us a tour of your classroom! Readers -- if you would like to be considered for a future Teacher Feature, please apply here.
The Snarky Schoolteacher is an education and lifestyle blog run by dedicated educational professionals. Our goal is to bring you relevant and fun educational content with a side of sass. Read more about our team here. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you will find these ideas and resources helpful in your classrooms and in your lives.