Making the Grade
Summit Middle School teacher Beth Flaherty has been at the blackboard for five years, during which time she has taught high school social studies, middle school humanities and third grade. As a humanities teacher, Flaherty relishes history and the social sciences for the never-ending learning opportunities the field provides.Flaherty also coaches the Summit High School gymnastics team.
Inspiration: Every teacher and coach I ever had inspired me to be an educator. I strive to emulate the good ones and avoid the examples of the bad ones.Motivation: I enjoy getting to know the students. So much of being an educator is being able to relate to them. If they know you care about them and their education they will be more productive students.Philosophy: When dealing with middle school students who have so many issues going on in their lives, I try to understand where they are coming from and relate my teaching to their lives to make class more applicable and relevant to them. While my style may not fit every student every day, I try to practice multiple strategies. I make sure the students know that I care about them as individuals and not just as CSAP scores.Modern challenges: Test scores determine whether or not I am a successful teacher. Testing is important but it should not be the only measure of students’ progress or of teachers’ success.
Another challenge is being everything to every student. The role of public education is increasingly important to our society. As students needs change, so must public education. Accomplishment: Winning the national college title on floor exercise. Oh, the glory days!Role models: Two people I know very well and have taught me so much about who I am and who I continue to strive to be are my parents. My parents are very different, but they each have qualities that I try to incorporate into my life daily. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
If I had $100,000: I would spend it on personnel. The more people and support we can have for students in the classroom, the more success they will experience. Students need to be listened to and validated regularly. The more positive role models surrounding students the better the learning environment.(This is assuming I couldn’t spend it on a new gymnastics gym with a pit, a strap bar, trampolines, a table vault and a spring floor.)Extracurricular: I love to travel. I am a very social person and my friends and family are important to me. I travel or visit friends whenever I get a chance.-Julie Sutor
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