Spotlight on Matthew Beebe, New Teacher at Lorton Station ES
Matthew Beebe’s experience as a teacher at Lorton Station Elementary has made him profoundly grateful for his life so far, and has helped shape him into an empathetic and creative educator who routinely goes above and beyond for his students.
Beebe started at Lorton Station in August 2014 as a special education teacher after graduating from SUNY-Fredonia. He quickly realized that the challenges many of his students faced on a daily basis overshadowed any challenge he had ever experienced. At the Title I school, he saw students who were food insecure, had attention problems, and did not receive adequate support at home. As a result, Beebe set out to strengthen relationships with his students to build trust and enable students to feel safe in his classroom. His smiling face, positive greeting, consistent manner, and ability to talk to his students about anything have gone a long way to build this trust.
To address the disengagement he saw in reading groups and math centers, Beebe learned to accommodate numerous modalities while enabling students to move around the classroom while they were learning. Using sticky hands, rubber bands, Velcro balls, toys that pop into the air, and other kinesthetic outlets, students can be engaged in their learning while minimizing disruption and detachment from classroom activities.
Beebe also noticed that many of his students could not afford to participate in extracurricular clubs or sports teams, and played outdoors with little or no supervision. So he created an afterschool club to teach sportsmanship and provide them with the opportunity to play organized sports. The Lorton Station Sports Club, the only free club in the area, had 200 applicants. By the end of the current school year, Beebe says all 200 students will have had an opportunity to participate on a team. He has also worked with members of the student TV news crew, welcoming English language learners, students with disabilities, and students with behavior issues to the group, offering them the responsibility and pride that comes with producing a daily news show.
Beebe works individually with students; he currently mentors a student who has numerous problems at home in an effort to provide a positive role model, and is working with another student on a positive reinforcement behavior plan to circumvent disruptive behavior in class.
“There seems to be no limit to the amount of positive change that we, as teachers, can enact in our schools,” he says. “I will always accept my students’ challenges as my own and I will always be grateful to take some time from my life to help make their lives a little more enjoyable or a little more extraordinary.”