It’s Thursday- Thank a Teacher: Gay Beck Edition

Another Thursday, another teacher to recognize for all her amazing work! Mrs. Gay Beck is a great teacher, in fact she is an incredible teacher. That’s why she was the Utah State Teacher of the Year in 2011.

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Here are Gay’s answers to a few questions I sent to her:

Where did you do your teacher prep?  I graduated from BYU in early childhood education and elementary education.

Where have you taught in your teaching career? I have taught kindergarten in Washington County School district and also worked with the district as an early childhood specialist. I have taught 2nd grade and kindergarten in Alpine School District. I am currently a full time kindergarten teacher at Highland Elementary.

What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? I love teaching 5&6 year olds.They always amaze me. I have had several funny responses in kindergarten especially during show and tell! Recently during it a student told the other kids to give her a call during the summer and handed out her mother’s business cards for them to contact her! I loved her creativity!

What one piece of advice would you give to new teachers? I was recently talking to my husband about all the demanding aspects of my job and then I teared up and said “,but it’s only July and I am already excited to meet my new batch of kinders and bond with them and make a difference in each of their lives”. So, my advice is to always remember why you choose this profession and enjoy your students. Laugh with them, get to know them and be present in the moment! I love this saying- “When you question your decision to Go On Teaching, look into the eyes of a student who needs you, that’s where you’ll Find Your Passion Again” . It’s the relationships we build with them and the time we invest that makes the difference!

What is your favorite teacher resource? My favorite teacher resource is other teachers!! I always find I get the best advice from other educators. I learn the most from visiting their classrooms. Just this week I met with 4 Kindergarten teachers and we went through our new literacy program. We all shared resources and it was so helpful. Talk to colleagues and find out what they are reading, what classroom management they use etc. Follow educators on twitter! I also get ideas from teacher pay teacher. It saves valuable time.

Describe any experience you have had in education policy- I have had some great experiences in education policy this past year. I have learned we cannot just stay in our classrooms, we must let our teacher voices be heard where policy is being created.  Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the Senate Education Committee hearing on a Kindergarten bill. One Senator said it was the most compelling testimony he had heard in all his time on the hill. I realized I must speak for students who cannot speak for themselves. I also spoke along with 3 other educators to the House Education Committee on another bill concerning teacher evaluation. This bill ultimately passed and I realized we made a huge difference for all educators in our state. I was even invited to the signing of the bill with Governor Herbert! I believe teacher voice is needed to make the necessary changes in education. I love being a teacher leader and hope I can make a difference for the students of our state.

What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? I would love to see lower class sizes, more aide help for student interventions and more time for professional development!

Mrs. Beck, you are the best! Thank you for all you do for the students in Utah.

Cheers!

Tabitha

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