This week our featured teacher is Bea Eaton-Hines, who is a third grade teacher at Bitz Intermediate School.
Eaton-Hines has been teaching for 36 years. She went to Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and studied Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career in Pittsburgh where she taught for three years. She has spent the last 33 years teaching on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. She spent 18 years teaching at Stone Street Elementary School, then went to Berkley Manor Elementary School for one year and has been at Bitz Intermediate School since 2006.
Q. What encouraged you to pursue your job as an educator?
A. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I volunteered with our town’s Parks and Recreation Department, working with children with special needs. I found that I enjoyed working with them and began looking at colleges that offer degrees in elementary education.
Q. What encouraged you to pursue education within your specific age level/curriculum?
A. Originally, I wanted to go into music education, but my music director in high school convinced me to make myself more marketable. As she said, most music teachers stay on the job until they retire. Little did I know back then that I would have had the opportunity to fulfill my original dream.
Q. What is your main classroom philosophy?
A. All children have the ability to learn if they set their minds to it. If they dream it, they can be it.
Q. What is a lesson you have learned from your students?
A. I’ve learned to be able to ask my students for help when it comes to technology as they are more comfortable with it than I am. Just recently, while trying to encourage a group of students to think about where they could look to find exactly how many bones are in the human body (hoping they would come up with the answer of an x-ray), one quiet young man said, “Just ask Siri”. It made me realize their world is much more technology driven than mine ever was.
Q. What is your favorite part of being an educator?
A. My favorite part of being an educator is watching a child who has struggled with a concept finally get it. The look on their face when they fully understand something and can put that knowledge into independent work is priceless. It’s then that I know I’ve done my part.
Q. What advice would you give to upcoming/new educators?
A. Don’t take yourself too seriously. As educators, we have an important role in our society, but we also have families to take care of. It’s important that when you leave the building, make sure that your mind is where your family is. Be there for your students during the day, but make sure to be there for your family when you get home. Your family is most important.
Q. What are three words that would describe your life outside of the classroom? (hobbies, interests, etc.)
A. My life outside of the classroom is rather quiet and boring. I do play World of Warcraft and read. Somewhere along the line, I’ve got to get a hobby!
Q. What is a favorite memory from your teaching career?
A. There are so many memories that I have of my career. I taught at Stone Street Elementary for 18 years before it was torn down and we moved into Bitz Intermediate. I think my fondest memory was the closing ceremony for Stone Street. Being able to see so many people, both educators and students, who shared being a part of something special like that was truly amazing.
Q. What advice would you give to a parent of a third grade student?
A. It is important to remember that they are still in need of your help and guidance when it comes to school work. School should be a priority because a good education is your child’s ticket to the future.
Q. What changes would you like to see implemented in the school system within the next five years?
A. Allow the teachers an opportunity to truly share what they know so that we can continue to keep our students’ needs in the forefront. We are in the trenches every day and we know our students.
Q. What are the biggest challenges you face as an educator in a military town?
A. The high turn-over in students and staff is the biggest challenge. When it comes to staff, you finally get things to click and have a great working relationship, and “poof”- transfer!
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share about being an educator?
A. I’ve been in education for a long time. It is a part of me. When my daughter and son were younger, they’d always tell me, “Mom! You’re off duty” when I’d say something educational. It is my hope that somewhere along the line, I’ve made a difference in a child’s life. So many have made a huge impact on me and I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to keep in touch with so many.