Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

-by Jake R., 8th Grade

Here at Parker Middle School, we have a new addition to our staff: Mrs. Beaulieu.

Mrs. Beaulieu comes to us from Salem, Massachusetts, where she was a Curriculum Coordinator for the last six years. Mrs. Beaulieu has also been an eighth grade teacher in Salem and also, a seventh grade teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Mrs. Beaulieu started out as a camp counselor for middle school students when she realized she had a passion for teaching and working with kids. She has come to Parker because she is ready for a challenge. Mrs. Beaulieu says that her first impressions of Parker are that the school is a wonderful place to be and that she is excited to be part of the staff.

As a kid, Mrs. Beaulieu enjoyed hanging out with friends, playing soccer and field hockey, babysitting, and talking on the phone with her friends. Mrs. Beaulieu has always liked school, ever since she was a child. She even would play school with her little sister in her basement on the weekends because she loves learning and being with her friends.

Mrs. Beaulieu thrives on the thrill of each day bringing new excitement to the classroom. She says, “The kids bring new experiences to each day; that is what makes them special.” Mrs. Beaulieu says that it is interesting to learn about how the school functions, to learn the personalities of the students here, and to grow with the community as the students grow as well.

Although school was exciting and fun for Mrs. Beaulieu, she did struggle with homework as a child, as many of us do today. Mrs. Beaulieu had an IEP, an Individualized Education Program, because she has a learning disability. Mrs. Beaulieu knows that homework and school can be hard, but she persevered to earn the grades she wanted, and deserved. All kids struggle with school and Mrs. Beaulieu knows what that is like. Learning is different for everybody, and everybody learns at their own pace.

Mrs. Beaulieu is married, and she and her husband live with their cat, Greta, in Beverly. She enjoys gardening and growing her own vegetables and flowers. She goes cycling every weekend, and she has recently begun painting with watercolors, because she has a passion for art. Art was a realm where Mrs. Beaulieu could feel successful and comfortable taking risks, when she could create something that you’ve made with your hands.

The most important thing to Mrs. Beaulieu about being part of the staff here at Parker is the ability to be responsive: to know each student’s learning level, and to adjust teaching methods based on how those students are learning. She is ready to do her best to manage the school and learn along with the students. She understands that although school is hard, you have to persevere and try your best.

Whenever you see Mrs. Beaulieu in the hallways, be sure to give her a smile or just a pleasant “hello” to let her know that she is welcomed here at our Walter Parker Middle School.

Read Full Post »

-by Maddy M., 8th Grade

I loved when she told us stories.

She told us a particularly outrageous story this past week. Her defining laugh started her sentence. “And I am not even going to tell you how I managed to get an A in that class.” The whole class erupted in laughter at the idea of it. “Oh whatever!” she exclaimed, “I have two days left.”

After her story, I quickly jotted down a few ideas for our coming interview. I went around and asked my peers any questions they had for her. Most of them were along the lines of ‘How much will you miss Mary-Kate?’ etc.

I was getting nervous; the interview was in less than a period. I had nothing written down; what was I going to ask her? Here she was, sitting less than six feet away from me.

“Mrs. Low let me just start by saying I have, like, nothing prepared…sorry.” She gestured to the table in the corner. “Oh that’s ok; we’ll figure out something.” We sat down across the table from each other. I started off easy; I asked her how long she had been teaching. 31 years. Eighteen of those years were spent here at Parker.

“Mrs. Low what was your first teaching job?” She then took her time, reaching back in her memory.

“When I first came out of college I went to work in Virginia, and that year is when they started to integrate schools. Half my students and faculty members were African-American. Of course having just come out of school I had no idea.”

And from then on, it wasn’t awkward. We talked, mostly about her.

M- Why are you leaving?
L- Well my husband had been retired for five years, and he needs me to come home. I have been teaching for 31 years, so I need to take a break. There are also some family issues right now.
M- What will you miss most about Parker?
L- I just love the people, I love teaching kids every day, I love talking to my faculty members. I just love the people. And I am going to miss that.
M- What is your overall best moment here?
L- I have always been happiest in the classroom.
M- How have you seen education change?
L-Technology mostly; in just the past ten years it has changed so much. I remember last year Mrs. Davis and I took a technology course; Mrs. Davis did not want to take it. But I told her to ‘shut up, and hurry up.’ A few times we got lost but it was good. I have also seen society change, the pressure put on students has changed immensely; not for the better though.
M- What compelled you to teach?
L- Through school I always got straight A’s, and when I was in school I always did teacher-like things; helping kids with their homework, etc. It has always come naturally to me.
M- What have you learned over the years?
L- Not to judge kids from the first time you see them. People (kids, teachers) can and do change.

Right about this point Mrs. Lows eyes started to water. She accused me of making her cry, and eventually we laughed. But she was still crying.

M- Are you sad that you are leaving?
L-(Shakily laughs) yes; yes I am.
M- Will you come back?
L- Definitely, at the end of the year.
M- Do you know if you will regret retiring?
L- You know, I really don’t think so. There are a lot of things to do outside of school, and I have been thinking about retiring for about a year.
M- Why aren’t you waiting till the end of the year?
L- Well my husband needs me home, and you are allowed to retire on your birthday. So that’s what I am doing.
M- I heard a rumor that you were going to travel. Where were you planning to go?
L- My husband and I were planning on traveling to every state, and traveling to the most popular spot there.
M- What will you do in your free time?
L- Well, if the warm weather ever comes, I love to garden; I also have a pool and I love to entertain; ask Mr. Musselman about that. Haha! I also have two grand-kids that I am looking forward to spending time with.
M- What has been your funniest moment here at Parker?
L- Every day since I have worked here I have laughed!
M- Have you always taught 8th grade?
L- No for a summer I taught a course in high school, which wasn’t my favorite. I also taught for a little in fifth grade. And a junior college.
M- What was your favorite grade?
L- Oh, definitely 8th grade; you know I love joking around. In 5th grade you are too young to get anything, and in high school everyone thinks they are too cool too laugh, so this is the perfect age for me.
M- How have you changed as a teacher?
L- I have become more patient, and more tolerant. When you are beginning a new teaching job you are so worried about what you will do right or wrong. But I definitely learned how to be more different.
M- Is there anything you regret as a teacher?
L- You know, everything I regret as a teacher is becoming an ancient memory. But in general I regret the fact that years back they changed the curriculum from American history to World History. I miss the connection kids had with American History. World history is very broad.
M- What is your philosophy on teaching?
L- I believe all can and want to learn. Teaching history is a chance to look at the world. Education can be used as tool; it’s a life long journey. It’s something you want to use for the rest of your life.
M- What is a parting message you want to send to Parker?
L- Well to the kids: Learn to work hard, and have fun. To my faculty: Work is important, and have fun!

By the time the interview was done, we had fifteen minutes left in the period. Now the awkward feeling was back. But instead of awkwardly leaving or sitting there, we talked, about life. What my parents did, about her daughters. How the beginning of the year was weird because we didn’t really like each other. It was fun!

I know it was late, but it was great to get one-on-one time with Mrs. Low before she left. Throughout the whole interview she looked me in the eye. We laughed and cried. There was hardly a second one of us wasn’t talking. It was great to get to know her.

Mrs. Low, you have been an amazing teacher. I feel so prepared for high school. Your classes are great, and always really interactive. I know I am going to miss you, and tons of others are going to miss you too. I feel blessed to have you as my teacher.

Read Full Post »