Teresa Beilstein started off aiming at a career in banking until she found it was not a good fit.
She switched careers and started teaching third grade at South Shore Elementary School in Crownsville six years ago.
Has she found her niche? You can bank on it.
Beilstein was named Anne Arundel County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Thursday night.
“Her classroom is alive,” South Shore Principal Stacy Shafran said. “She really does bring learning to life in her classroom. Her students are excited, never knowing what she is going to do next.”
Her classroom was really alive on Friday. Fellow teachers came to school early and decorated her room.
“It was incredible. And my students, they were pretty excited all day,” Beilstein said.
Beilstein puts a premium on relationships.
“I think one of the key elements is building relationships with my students, their families, and relationships in the building … the children feel that,” she said.
Shafran took that a step further.
“Teresa’s relationship building with students and families is not just for the year, it’s life long,” Shafran said. “Students come back to see her all the time.”
And it starts at her classroom door.
“It says We Are Family on her doorway, and there are pictures of all her students,” she said. “You can feel it when you walk in the room.”
After earning a degree in economics from Loyola University and trying banking for a few years she went back to school to earn a Master’s in Teaching Practice from Walden University.
“I interned at South Shore and they hired me the next year,” Beilstein said.
Recently she earned National Board Certified status. And Beilstein constantly looks for new ways, new concepts to engage her students.
“She is one of the most reflective people related to her work. A lifelong learner. It’s a incredible dedication to her practice,” Shafran said. “She always has someone in her classroom trying to learn how to do things better. She is always reading articles, taking special development classes to learn more and become a great leader in the school.”
A brief bio included in the award program at the 33rd Annual Excellence in Education Awards Thursday night lauded Beilstein’s work
“From fun jingles to help students remember math facts to frequent personal journal responses for each student to gentle pushes that promote achievement, Beilstein has found a formula that gets students to love learning and succeed.
“She has created a positive classroom environment that celebrates every student, regardless of ability or background,” explains her colleague Rebecca Cullen, a special educator at South Shore.
A lot of the energy comes from her love of the job.
“My belief about teaching is that the most effective and successful teachers have one common trait: they care,” she said. “I care about my students. I care about their families, their backgrounds, who they are, and who they hope to become. I show them who I am.”
She also wishes her good fortune on others.
“I have told them I hope you find a job where you love coming to work every day,” Beilstein said. “A job that makes you feel whole. That is how I feel about teaching.”