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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times


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A Thank You to Mr. Beck


As many of us know, this is Mr. Beck’s last year as a teacher before he begins retirement. This week I got the opportunity to sit down and speak with him. In the process, I learned a lot about him as a teacher as well as what he plans to do during his retirement.

Mr. Beck comes from a family of salespeople and healthcare providers. He was never interested in either. He believes “Salespeople are slimy and healthcare is way too messy.. as a math teacher I can erase my mistakes.” Despite his dislike for healthcare and sales, he still wanted to help people. He thinks it is important to sell the necessity of the benefits of math education. In his time in high school, there was a teacher who inspired him to take the right path. He knows that being able to do this for even one student would be a good thing.

I also asked Mr. Beck about any advice he might have for new students and teachers. For new students, he recommends looking at education as an opportunity to do anything you might want to do and to find joy in the process of learning. “If you treat it like drudgery, it’ll feel like drudgery. If you treat it as an opportunity of self-exploration, it’ll never get old.” He also tells new students to look for positive people and to stay away from negative people.

For new teachers, Mr. Beck says that you have to be yourself in the classroom. After 5 years, he says the long workweek will also get easier. After some time, you will learn some tricks and learn the curriculum inside and out. “The 1st year is all about surviving, the 2nd is about finding your teacher’s voice, and years 3 through 5 are about getting your pedagogy down. After the first 5 years, you wanna pay it forward and help other new teachers.”

Mr. Beck believes his biggest accomplishment while teaching was convincing a student to send an application to the College of Engineering, where she was accepted. Many years later she ended up with a PhD in applied mathematics. This was one of his prouder moments. One of the best things he thinks he has developed is knowing which students he just needs to give a little information to and get out of the way, and which students need more help. Something else he is proud of is his personal curriculum, what he has created with his own pedagogy in mind. Mr. Beck’s most memorable moments are those where he receives a “divine inspiration”. He will be looking for a way to do something different, and something just pops into his head and he goes with it. An example of this is earlier in this school year, on the first day. He usually came up with a math problem that students attempt to solve. This year, he had students draw, doodle, or sketch, how they feel in a math classroom. It showed him the emotional side of his students perspective on math, which was very eye-opening for him.

Before Mr. Beck was a teacher, he was an engineer for 16 years. Throughout his senior year of high school, he had no intention of going to college, when the aforementioned physics teacher inspired him to go. He didn’t believe he was a smart person, but the teacher did. As a last-minute decision, Mr. Beck applied to colleges and got in. After that, he became an engineer. He especially enjoyed being able to see new technology come to fruition. He has also been able to apply the engineering concepts to his teaching. It’s been applied to the writing process, the administrative factors, and other things. He believes that his experience in the industry helped him bring that mindset and environment into the classroom, allowing for a bigger variety of concepts and information.

During his retirement, Mr. Beck plans to catch up on his sleep. This last month or so has been filled with busy activities, and some rest is what he needs. Later on, he plans to travel, visiting Cape Cod in July, Maine in August, and potentially September. He plans to play more golf and tennis, go on walks, and hike through mountains in Spain in October. He also intends to visit his family in California and Norway. He told me he will also be enjoying road trips, “Throw my golf clubs and tennis rackets in the car, and just start driving”.

The things Mr. Beck will miss most about being a teacher are coaching Lady Viking Tennis and humbling AP Calc students. He finds it very entertaining to show the “smart kids” what a college-level math course will be like. He’ll also miss preparing freshmen for high school, seniors for college, and LVT players for competitions.

I really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Beck, and I think all he has done for our school is amazing. His absence will definitely be felt next year. Thank you, Mr. Beck, for all you have done, and have a great retirement!

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