The Washington Elementary School District employee answers 10 questions before she closes her classroom for winter break. Bethany Dean is a first grade teacher at Acacia Elementary School in the Washington Elementary School District. With five-years’ teaching experience, the Arizona native uses tecDec 16, 2015
The Washington Elementary School District employee answers 10 questions before she closes her classroom for winter break.
Bethany Dean is a first grade teacher at Acacia Elementary School in the Washington Elementary School District. With five-years’ teaching experience, the Arizona native uses technology and creativity to enhance her classroom. She enables parents to stay abreast of classroom activities, showcasing a video summary on her website. Dean also integrates yoga and fun activities for brain breaks, reminding students that education involves the whole mind and body.
What is your go-to idea for engaging reluctant learners?
BD: I am a huge believer in Kagan Cooperative Learning. There are so many strategies and activities to get every type of learner involved and engaged in what we are focusing on. When every student is held accountable for a specific job or task, they never cease to amaze me.
What is something parents should do to support their child’s learning?
BD: Parents should stay positive and be patient. There are a lot of new changes and expectations in education and staying positive with your child’s learning and progress is very important. We are all in this together.
Who is the teacher that inspired you?
BD: My mother, Mrs. Western! My mom has been a teacher for nearly 30 years and she is amazing at her craft. So many things I do in my classroom I learned from watching her all these years. Her passion, dedication and love for teaching is indescribable.
Why do you teach?
BD: There are so many reasons I love teaching. One of my favorite things about teaching is building relationships with students. I love getting to know students throughout the year, becoming a part of their life. The best feeling is having former students come visit you, year after year.
What should students get their teacher during the holiday season?
BD: Being appreciated is the best gift ever. This can come in many shapes and sizes such as a gift card to your favorite coffee shop, a coloring book because your students know you love to doodle, your favorite flower, or a classic handwritten note, but any type of gift that shows I am appreciated is my favorite.
What is your favorite educational movie?
BD: School of Rock. I love that each student in the movie gets to use their special talent and show how amazing they are. Follow your dreams, kids!
What is your favorite lesson to teach and why?
BD: I love teaching thematic units. We teach several thematic units in first grade that focus on real-life topics and it is so fun watching students get totally excited and eager to learn and experiment. Our current thematic unit is ‘Holidays Around the World.’ Each day we ‘travel’ to a new country on our class train to learn about their traditions and culture. We are becoming quite the world travelers!
What is your funniest moment in the classroom?
BD: The funniest moments in the classroom always seem to be when I do something silly or one of the students does something funny and we all laugh. It shows the type of classroom community we have, which allows us to be goofy and make mistakes—we all know it’s okay and have fun with it. Let’s be honest, this definitely happens daily!
What is one thing you would change to improve teaching and learning in AZ schools?
BD: I wish we could have more funding for teachers, schools, and the classroom. I work with so many amazing teachers who are constantly spending out of pocket for all the creative lessons, projects, and activities they do with their students. Doctors don’t have to spend out of pocket to provide care for their patients. Why do teachers have to do it to provide quality education to students?
Apple or pumpkin pie?
BD: Is strawberry rhubarb pie an option?
Call to Action: Watch the ways students are learning in Mrs. Dean’s classroom. (https://animoto.com/play/GAwYK58kurb8QDd0xdUVXQ)