Start by listening with respect and with an open mind. Ask good questions, then listen more.
-Becky Beno, Faculty Member from 1999-present
Living and Working at a Boarding School
I have worked at WMS since 1999 and have had many different roles during that time, including ESL teacher, Carter Dorm Head, Community Service Director and Cultural Events Coordinator. My husband, Hiapo, teaches History and coaches rock climbing, and we have two sons, Justin and Alden.
One of the joys of living and working at a boarding school is that you are surrounded by young people and that there are many different ways to interact with them. Some of my favorite times are the informal ones like when a student knocks on my door to borrow a spoon or when the Hill House fire alarm goes off and we all find ourselves standing outside on a snowy 15 degree night or when the spring weather hits and students and faculty alike soak up the sun on the picnic table outside of Carter Dorm.
I am an Academic Coach in the Learning Center. Academic Coaches work one-on-one or in small groups with students to help them with self-awareness, self-advocacy and academic skills. We help students identify strengths and weaknesses, plan out academic goals and then reflect upon their progress. Depending on a student’s goals, we may help them with the writing process, time management, active study or many other things. At its heart, Academic Coaching is about listening to students and partnering with them to help them learn and grow.
Encourage your students to take meaningful academic risks that lead to deep learning. Help them understand that mistakes are an essential part of the learning process.
Always remember your students’ strengths. When they need it, help them to remember their strengths.
As a teacher, devote yourself to being a learner. Learn from your students. Learn from books. Learn from colleagues.
Never doubt the affirming power of a smile.
Favorite thing about WMS
My favorite thing about WMS is that the faculty and students here constantly inspire me to be a better teacher and a better person. Morning meeting is my favorite time of day. This is the time when I will find myself smiling in awe because a student has just said something especially kind or supportive of another student. This is that time when I will be reminded of the needs of others because students or faculty are fundraising for a group such as Special Olympics or The Batey Foundation. Actually, this kind of compassion is woven throughout my day at WMS. Whether I am watching a student do a presentation about pollution on the Ammonoosuc River for his LASR project or I am participating in a student-run discussion on a famous suffragette during Community Meeting, I am constantly reminded of the importance of caring for the people and the natural world around you.
Favorite place on campus
Right now, my favorite place is Lovejoy Chapel. I love sitting on the rug at Morning Meeting surrounded on all three sides by giant windows that look out onto our beautiful campus. It has been so wonderful to listen to Paul give his Chaplain’s reading, or John play the guitar or Lemon read from The Invisible Man while watching golden leaves fall from the trees or the first fluffy snowflakes of the winter blow down from the sky.
I earned my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers or Other Languages) Certification in a month long program in Kyoto, Japan. I walked by the Imperial Palace on my way to classes every day and spent my weekends exploring ancient Shinto Shrines and eating at conveyer belt sushi restaurants. One of my favorite lessons that I student taught was a listening comprehension lesson on how to make American style pizza.