For Anne Beitlers, joining the UW College of Education as director of the Secondary Teacher Education Program is a homecoming. She is returning to Seattle after earning her PhD in English education at New York University, where she wrote her dissertation on the relationship between teachers' perceived needs of students and their practice in urban, all-male schools. Beitlers received her her bachelor's in English and master's in teaching at UW, and previously worked as a teacher at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle for seven years.
Beitlers recently answered questions about what drew her to UW, her work preparing future educators and more.
What drew you to education?
Early in high school I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I like people and I like helping people, and teaching seemed to be an extension of that in many ways. I chose my undergrad institution for athletics and without consideration that a bachelor’s degree in education wasn’t an option. This choice, however, led me to the University of Washington, where I eventually decided upon an English degree, but I knew I would need to continue my studies in graduate school to fulfill my career goals. The Secondary Teacher Education Program was the best fit for me and in 1999 I graduated from the program I now direct.
After teaching for ten years and spending eight years in New York City while completing my Ph.D., I’m delighted to officially rejoin my alma mater; in many ways, I feel like I’ve returned home. STEP framed for me what it means to teach for social justice and I look forward furthering my learning and growing here once again.
Describe the work you'll be doing here in teacher preparation.
I see myself as a liaison between the many groups of people I work with in STEP: students, coaches, instructors and partner schools. I believe in building strong relationships with these groups and assisting them in building strong relationships with each other. Through these relationships we can collaborate in creating a cohesive experience for our teacher candidates that is committed to equity and teaching for social justice. My colleagues and their commitment to urban education consistently inspire me. I have learned so much already and look forward to future collaborations.
Currently I am working with teams in our program to develop more meaningful practicums, a deeper emphasis on equity, and a focus on candidate identity that will prepare them to better understand their role as a teacher.
What makes this work meaningful to you?
The simple, quick answer is: students, but really it’s more about providing a quality education for all students. Learning to be a teacher takes time. I want our teacher education program to prepare candidates to be the best new teachers possible – teachers who have the tools to understand, reflect upon and refine practice and continue to consider power and privilege and their place in it throughout their careers.
What's something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I love to eat and hang out with my family. Although I was a pretty serious athlete until I was 22, I really don’t like working out – I get bored, but I do love skiing!
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications