Tell us a bit about your background:
My name is Mary Beth Akers and I have been in education for 31 years. I taught kindergarten through sixth grades during my teaching career. I was an assistant principal for 6 years and a principal for 3. I am from Reno, Nevada in the United States of America. I came to Kuwait because I love to travel and I wanted the experience of teaching abroad. I love being with children in the classroom and find that teaching is my true calling.
I find that children are very funny and clever when it comes to their learning experiences. I could write a book about the things students have said to me over the years. Humor definitely has a place in learning. I try to use humor in my teaching as often as possible. Students love the opportunity to “let their hair down” in class and an occasional giggle or two is a great ice breaker or stress reducer. I find that humor allows me to not be so serious all the time. It allows the students to see that I am human and that I love to laugh.
What teaching and learning goal are you most excited to achieve by the end of this school year?
I think my learning goal for this year is to acclimate myself to hearing and understanding the Arabic accent my students have in their speech. It is not always easy to understand English Language Learners, especially when their speech is accented so heavily. I am used to working with students of another language group, so I am having to really listen and learn from my students. I so appreciate the opportunities they have offered me to assist me with learning a few vital Arabic phrases. I am feeling much more comfortable with my students and understanding their speech.
Do you have any inspirational words and/or specific sites, organizations, strategies, or links that you’d like to share with other teachers?
If I have any inspiring words for other teachers it would be to not sweat the small stuff and to choose your battles. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind of teaching that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Teaching is hard, of that there is no doubt. However; make sure you are careful to choose which battles you wish to undertake. The small stuff will solve itself. Take care to address those larger issues that may threaten your daily peace of mind. Always remember, as a teacher, you are here for the students.