Candid and honest responses to questions everyone wants answered by a 2016 Arizona Educational Foundation Ambassador for Excellence. Beth Snyder is a sixth grade science teacher at Akimel A-al Middle School in the Kyrene School District. In November, the Arizona Educational Foundation named Snyder

Dec 10, 2015

Candid and honest responses to questions everyone wants answered by a 2016 Arizona Educational Foundation Ambassador for Excellence.

Beth Snyder is a sixth grade science teacher at Akimel A-al Middle School in the Kyrene School District. In November, the Arizona Educational Foundation named Snyder a 2016 Ambassador of Excellence.

What is your go-to idea for engaging reluctant learners?

BS: Engaging reluctant learners can be tricky. Like most students, you have to find out what makes them “tick”. I do this by asking my students about their interests and activities that make them love learning. Some students refuse to give class presentations because of a fear of public speaking, while others love to be on the stage. Using “menus” allows students to demonstrate their learning in a way that gives choice and safety.

What is something parents should do to support their child’s learning?

BS: The best way parents can support student learning is by staying connected. Ask questions of your child and of the teacher, read the communication from the school and keep tabs on your child’s progress.

Who is the teacher that inspired you?

BS: I feel inspired by so many teachers. I think the key to my success is that I try to learn a lesson from every highly effective teacher I know. As a child, I had a teacher who taught me about second chances and learning from my mistakes, without regret. These are meaningful life lessons.

Why do you teach?

BS: There are so many benefits to being a teacher. The rewards that come from motivating children to be their personal best is unlike any feeling I have experienced. When a former student or parent tells me that I made a difference in their lives, I feel validated and grateful for the opportunity to lead young learners.

What should students get their teacher during the holiday season?

BS: Here’s the truth. Gifts of money and jewelry are always appreciated but the real gems that I keep forever are written notes from my kids and their parents [and some special ornaments]. There really is nothing like a thank you that says you are making a difference. Here is one I recently received, which is unedited, and the last name has been removed.

Dear Mrs. Snyder,

i'm sure your getting a million emails to see if you won or not but I know you didn't win. I hope this message touches you the way I feel it should. You know what, you are a winner in my eyes and everybody that either has you or had you. When I come into your classroom felling sad of mad that feeling immediately stops when I see your smile, you make me feel like nobody in the world has ever made me feel. You make me feel special. I know your probably feel like i'm just trying to make you feel better but have you ever really noticed that the moment I see your smile I smile even bigger which is very hard to do because you have one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen before! I absolutely love how science apart from all my classes goes by in a flash. It's very hard to make science go by in a flash in period 2 because I am always thinking about lunch but the fact that you can make it happen is a blessed feeling I get when I know that I have the most amazing, kind and generous teacher that anyone could ever have. Mrs. Snyder your everyone's favorite teacher, did you know that? I have asked so many people and my answer is always something like oh obviously Mrs. Snyder or Ms. Snyder by far. Mrs. Snyder you make people feel like rainbows flying across the sky, you make people feel unique and incredible. I wish I could just blurt out everything I feel about you but to fit it all in one message is impossible with a teacher like you!

Thank you so much for being there me en I need you Mrs. Snyder



Period 2

What is your favorite educational movie?

BS: Stand and Deliver

What is your favorite lesson to teach and why?

BS: Anytime we get our hands dirty or discover something unknown, life is good. I have a great digestive system lab where students simulate the full process of digestion. Starting at the mouth, ending at the rectum, it is fun. My students love the “shock and awe” of creating a bowel movement in class.

What is your funniest moment in the classroom?

BS: Funny moments are another priceless benefit to teaching. I have a blind student who is very competent. He often body slams me on his way to one place or another. Recently, I was calling table groups to share their illustration and definition of our new vocabulary words forgetting that this student would have brailed his definition, but wouldn’t have an illustration to share. Before I knew what was happening, he felt his way to the document camera and started to read his brailed work to the class with his hands. Jaws dropped and everyone cheered. It wasn’t until I got home that I roared with laughter. My kids teach me so much.

What is one thing you would change to improve teaching and learning in AZ schools?

BS: There is a false narrative that is being perpetuated about failing public schools in Arizona. We need to change that narrative into a positive call to action to provide better support and resources for the hardworking teachers and administrators who are guiding the leaders of tomorrow.

Apple or pumpkin pie?

BS: Small slice of both with a scoop of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla.

Call to Action: Learn more about Beth Snyder by watching a short YouTube video. (

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