About Ms. Beck
Here’s a little something about me. I’ve been a teacher – and many other things – over the course of the past 28 years. A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a student, a (step) grandma, a cat
lover, and so many roles in the past and present have made me who I am.
I’m not sure what defines me more, being a teacher or being a learner, a student of life, if you will. One thing I know for sure, is that teaching isn’t just a thing I “do” in my life. It’s who I am. I live and breath teaching and learning of all kinds. When I’m not teaching, I’m thinking about teaching. When I’m reading, I’m reading about teaching. Heck when I retire, I want to keep teaching. On my free time, I’m learning, sometimes about teaching but also about other interests I have.
Being a learning geek, I read and gather information. I like reading fiction and I have My Favorite Books, But, I REALLy love reading non-fiction. Reading books and magazines about how the brain works is one of my favorite areas of focus. Another topic I get lost in is psychology and motivation. *Warning: GEEK ALERT”
Here’s the deal, actually MY deal in life. Everyone has a “deal”. It’s what Nature gave them – their strengths, their challenges, their passions and their fears. Any way, my DEAL was no so different than students I’ve known over the years.
I was a struggling student. When I was young, I loved going to school, but the learning didn’t come easily. As I got older, the challenges seems to get bigger. Maybe this had to do with the role of daughter and sister I had as a kid. It was a bit unique because my family was born in Brazil. This mde me a first generation American. English was new to the whole family, so was the cukture.
The fact that I was growing up in a multilingual home isn’t the most unique part of MY DEAL. Back in the day, when we had to walk up hill both ways to get to school and the one phone a family
had was attached to the wall, schools were different, too.
It was before science and research in education understood that students learn through many channels. It was before the acceptance of students who “learned differently”, like m
e. I was the student in class who couldn’t read. 3rd and 4th memories are filled with tears, frustration, and isolation. Back then, no one knew about dyslexia. The only thing my parents and m
y teachers knew was that I couldn’t tell the difference between ‘was’ and ‘saw’ or ‘were’ and ‘where’. Spelling? Forget about it! Like that wasn’t enough, numbers were a hot mess for me, too. The multiplication tables – uhg, it was a nightmare memorizing those!
All the while, I was in a home where we s
poke a variety of language while trying to hold on to my family’s heritage and culture I really knew very little about. MY DEAL was quite colorful. Maybe that’s why I was always the class clown surviving on my social skills my personality.
So, why did I share all that with you?
No matter what your skill level is, no matter what you background, and no matter what your fears and anxieties are, you need to know, you’re not the only one with a DEAL. Everyone has a DEAL and that DEAL is what make you the amazing contributor you are to the world. Embrace all that is good about your DEAL and take on the challenges of your DEAL with courage. The challenges are a gift because it’s difficulty and challenge that grows our character.
I know you’re asking this question: If you had such a hard time in school and couldn’t read or do math, how did you become a teacher?
That is a great question. As I look back the answer is simple, but the work was hard. After all, I had to work harder in school than anyone else I knew and earned half they rewards. What helped my deal with my DEAL was my dedication to making the most out of what I was given by Nature. I had more determination most people.
My friends appeared to have it so easy. They studied a little, got great grades, and were involved in all kinds of school activities. My sister and bother were highly intelligent, too. They got it from my parents. Me? I was clearly holding the door open for everyone else when Mother Nature was passing out the intelligence gene.
At least, that’s what I thought. It wasn’t until after I put in all the hard work – for years mind you – that’ I realized my biggest gift was the gift of determination. Once I realized my DEAL was different than everyone else’s, I got to work. That work muscle kicked in around 8th grade and didn’t stop until I was out of college and secured my first teaching job (1991). If you consider the timeline, that’s nine years of dedication to one goal: to become the best me I could be by doing what I needed to do every day.
If you do your very best today, and strive for excellence in everything you do right now, at this very moment, your success follows.
After college I went back to school again, this time for a Masters Degree in Education. As a new professional in education, I often reflected on personal experience while teaching. The greatest realization in those early years, was that I was in fact different than other students. My brain sometimes felt broken. But, there’s a miracle in my chaotic journey of learning and it’s this.
A dyslexic, first generation American, raised in an education culture with a narrow tolerance for challenged learners was able to succeed not only in her life but in her career.
Today, life’s greatest pleasure is found in continually growing my mind and my spirit. I learn each and every day, not just have the information in my head, but to
get the benefits of nurturing my head and my heart. This is the gift I was given because of my DEAL, and my ultimate purpose in life is to lead others the their determination for progress and growth. I believe when we grow our minds we have the potential to grow our hearts, and this helpd us become better people.
I want to grow my heart and my mind to grow for as long as I can. SO, I read, write, and think every day – exactly what I couldn’t do the first nine years of my life. Today, my brain is my toy box. Because my brain is my toy box I fill up everyday, our classroom is just one of my playgrounds. When the school day ends and I go to home sweet home, the play doesn’t end there. That toy box goes with me where every I go and I never take it for granted.
When I walk in the door, ‘m
greeted by Rocky and Harley, the two cats that fill my house with constant entertainment. Is it wrong to have more pictures on your phone of your pets than your family? My daughter is understanding about this reality because she lives in southern Illinois on a small lake with her two dogs, and she loves them more than any human! what I do have at home is an amazing husband and one of his passions, fish… lots and lots of fish.
100’s of them.
He loves them so much we have 500 gallons of luxury water condos for them to live in two lovable cats. One beautiful daughter, and an amazing husband. Family and friends are very important to me. After all, relationship is the foundation of life.
We are all meant to support one another, to learn from one another, and to give to one another. I believe with compassion, mutual respect, and the willingness to contribute to community, we all have the power to change the world!