Teacher Tammy BeBee: Every child ‘needs to be encouraged, believed in’
Published 5:00 am Friday, November 3, 2023
By Emily Burleigh
Tammy BeBee, 47, wants to provide her first-grade students with what her great-grandparents gave her: inspiration, support and faith.
Her great-grandparents raised her. They were unable to read or write, but BeBee said she was always taught and motivated by the pair.
“My great-grandparents were my true inspiration. They always truly believed in me and encouraged me to work my hardest,” she said. “I wanted to be a teacher in the way my grandparents were to me, adults that praised my efforts and believed in me.”
Their actions, in addition to the aid provided to BeBee by her neighbors and teachers, ultimately led her to McNeese State University, where she earned her bachelor’s in early childhood education.
For all 24 years she has been an educator, BeBee has taught first grade. She spent time employed by the Calcasieu Parish School Board, teaching at Brentwood Elementary and Fairview Elementary. Now, she calls Our Lady Queen of Heaven School her home.
She loves to teach first grade because for one simple reason, the kids. She said their daily energy keeps her energized and motivated.
“When my day is filled with this kind of enthusiasm, it is hard not to love to teach! It is easy to feel lucky. It is easy to feel loved. It is easy to feel that I have a chance to make a difference.”
She said the relationship between her and her students is “nurturing,” and always “involves guidance and support.” When she is teaching, her mission is to not only make sure her students efficiently learn the curriculum, but also to help them understand how it relates to the real world.
“My favorite part of teaching is connecting the heart with the mind and mind to the heart. Those two must work together to bring out the best in the student.”
By establishing these connections, the whole child is developed. Bebee takes it a step further by encouraging her students to participate in virtuous habits.
“Giving students the opportunities to make connections and participate in genuine and purposeful activities along with prayer, love, and positive support, the student continues to grow and thrive to be the best they can be.”
Instituting this practice in the classroom benefits every resident, whether they are in school or not.
“Education contributes to the development and well being of communities. It fosters critical thinking and enhances social unity.”
Every time a student “smiles, shows progress and cheers from the results of their successes,” Bebee feels assured she chose the right career. However, she has never allowed her growth as an educator to plateau or the energy in her classroom to grow stale. This continued act of forward movement is one that every teacher should practice, she believes.
“It is important to be open to continual self-improvement, always foster a positive learning environment and prioritize student engagement. They all want to be loved.”
In fact, cultivating a habit of personal growth is something that every adult can do to benefit students.
“Children encounter many types of teachers throughout their lives. Whether it is an educator or a great-grandparent, every child needs to be encouraged and believed in.”