Meet Beth Newingham
Welcome to Teaching Matters! I’m Beth Newingham, and this is my 10th year of teaching. I had the pleasure of serving as the Scholastic Grades 3–5 Teacher Advisor two years ago, and I’m so excited to be back on the site this year!
I’ve lived my entire life in Michigan and currently teach in Troy, Michigan, at Hill Elementary School. The City of Troy is a suburban community located about 25 minutes from downtown Detroit. Troy is rich in cultural diversity, and that is certainly reflected in our student population. Among the 350 students in my building, over 30 different languages are spoken. Teachers, parents, and students celebrate this diversity and take great pride in the unique differences we all bring to our school and our community.
Education has always been a very important part of my life. I guess that was inevitable as I am the child of two teachers. I earned my undergraduate degree from Albion College, a small liberal arts school, and went on to earn a master's degree in the Art of Teaching. Since then, I have focused on the teaching of reading and writing. I've spent time with both 5th and 2nd grades, and this marks my seventh year as a 3rd grade teacher. I’ve found that teaching a variety of grades has helped me to better understand and appreciate the full spectrum of learning that takes place in elementary school.
In my classroom, reading, writing, and math workshops are at the heart of the learning that takes place every day. I also strive to weave technology into my curriculum and work hard to make my lessons applicable to the real world. Whether we are “traveling” around the United States on our "region tour" or examining economic principles through our classroom economy, I want to make learning in my classroom purposeful and authentic.
I see education as the main tool that we have to prepare children for their futures. Since it’s our students who will become the future leaders and citizens of this world, I feel nothing is more important than a quality education. Teachers have a unique and daunting responsibility to shape the future through their students. Because of this responsibility, I try to take each opportunity I can to shape the world around me for the better and to instill the same desire within the children I teach.
To achieve my goals, I see myself as having many different jobs in my classroom.
- Teacher as Academic Enthusiast: The root of education is a love of the content. I am passionate about literacy and want my students to leave my classroom with the same excitement that I have for reading and writing. I work hard to make this enthusiasm infectious and to foster a love of learning in my students, even those who come to me with little or no interest in school.
- Teacher as Cheerleader: It’s my job to encourage my “team.” I provide them with constant motivation to try new things and push them to reach their potential. I realize that learning does not come easily to all students and that I must endow my students with the belief that they can be successful.
- Teacher as Feedback Provider: In order to be successful and confident, students need positive reinforcement. I give my students praise for things they do well and provide extra assistance on skills with which they need more help. Each student’s journey in my classroom is one of progress and growth.
- Teacher as Constructivist: While I am a presenter of knowledge, I certainly do not see myself as the sole source of knowledge in my classroom. I provide many opportunities for my students to seek knowledge for themselves through hands-on activities and open-ended assignments.
- Teacher as Learner: Education is constantly changing and shifting the ways that teachers think. I am never satisfied with what I already know; I strive to continuously learn more and to continuously improve my own teaching.
I’ve been married for nearly six years and give much credit to my husband, who has learned that being married to a teacher sometimes calls for the additional tasks of cutting, pasting, and labeling supplies for student projects and lessons. I also welcomed my wonderful son Luke into the world in March of 2008. He has certainly changed my outlook on life and has strengthened my will to make each child who enters my classroom feel safe and special.
Although teaching is not an easy job, I feel lucky that there is nothing I would rather do. Making learning both engaging and purposeful for my students is my ultimate goal when creating the ideas and activities I have chosen to share with you.