Hey Knights! Welcome to Humans of Queen E, a space where teachers, students, and alumni can share their stories and experiences in a judgement-free, welcoming environment. For this week’s post we will be sitting down with one of Queen Elizabeth’s Assistant Principals, Ms.Beebe. Her passion for student advocacy truly sets her apart from the majority of the teachers at Queen Elizabeth. Ms.Beebe’s desire for change and a well rounded community is an aspect many students look up to her for. As a result of her dedication Ms.Beebe has won the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award. As an advocate for youth voices Ms.Beebe tells us how she got into teaching and what inspired her
Deciding what field to pursue is never easy, in fact it’s a decision that a lot of us are starting to think about amidst our highschool years. Especially when there are a plethora of careers that may capture your attention, leaving you unsure as to what you really want to engage within. When asked what inspired Ms. Beebe to pursue teaching without hesitating, she responded.
“Teachers were always consistent throughout my life . I had a few teachers stand out to me throughout my life who inspired me to pursue teaching. The first was my dad, he was a teacher in the division for 30+ years and I often went to his school with him and watched him interact with his students. Helping people must be in the family as most of us are teachers or in the healthcare field. My half-sister is also a teacher with Edmonton Public, my half-brother is a Doctor, and my sister is in the Dental field. The second was my grade 9 Social Studies teacher and my grade 9 volleyball coaches (Oatway, Conquest, Robertson). The last one was my grade 12 English teacher (Cross) who later became a colleague of mine. Each of these teachers impacted me and guided me along my journey. My grade 9 and grade 12 teachers were all women who inspired me to be the best me possible and above all made a connection. It is all about connections with others!
When I was in high school I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. I wasn’t the best student, a 60% in Math was the very best I could achieve and that was successful for me. I wasn’t the best Athlete, but I always tried my hardest and wanted to be the best I could be. I was however, passionate and knew I loved to help people. In High School I had a guidance counsellor tell me “you aren’t cut out for post secondary”. I think this gave me the drive to prove them wrong. After High School I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do and initially thought I wanted a career in a completely different field. I went to Centre High and took an extra class while I tried to figure out the career path I wanted to follow. I took a few night classes at MacEwan University and decided to apply for full time study in the fall. I ended up making the Grant MacEwan volleyball team and I even earned an A+ in my first year University English! I also went to the University of Alberta and coached U18 Club Volleyball, graduated, and got my first teaching job at QE.”
The experiences we endure within our lives shape us into who we are, these events allow us to form our perspectives and worldviews. This enables us to learn and grow as individuals, broadening our wisdom and understanding. As Assistant Principal of Queen Elizabeth, Ms. Beebe has helped multiple students find their voice and purpose as a student. When asked about the significant experiences that helped shape her identity as the remarkable Assistant Principal we know today she responded.
“My first teaching job was at QE under the guidance of one of the best women I have met, worked with, and am lucky to call a friend. Ms. Scaddan was my Department Head of Social Studies at the time and she has guided me and my career ever since that first day. I often ask myself what would Scaddan do and try to do that and add the Beebe spin on it. She nominated me for an Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award and I was honoured to be one of the 25 teachers who won in 2010.
One of the most impactful moments in my career was working with students with the Centre for Global Education and helping Youth Leaders speak at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, present their findings of over 400 youth from Treaty 6,7, and 8, and write what they felt needed to be the change in our education. Another impactful moment happened a few weeks ago working with students from QE. These young leaders volunteered to work on a program hosted by EllisDon’s Alliance of Black Employee Experience and Leadership (ABEEL). The program aims to encourage high school students from across Canada to share their vision of a future without racism. Through this effort, the students created different mediums to showcase how they see racism manifested in their own lives, and what steps we can all take towards a less hateful – and more prosperous – future for all of us.
I believe that the biggest experience that shaped me becoming an Assistant Principal was the fact that I wanted to create change and provide students with a voice.
I know you have heard me say this a million times in the last few months but I truly believe students are the leaders of today and I hope I can help give them a platform to be anyone they want to be. I also want to give students a safe space to be themselves and pursue their passions.
I don’t like to ask students what do you want to be when you grow up but “who do you want to be and what skills do you need to be whoever you want. There are no limits for you!”
It is clearly evident that Miss.Beebe truly cares about the experiences of every-single student at Queen Elizabeth. However, despite being passionate about your career, everything tends to have ups and downs. Ms. Beebe elaborated on how balancing her work and school life is one of the more challenging aspects about her career.
“The hardest part of my career is trying to balance my work and life. I am a single mom and have two beautiful kids (Sydney and Owen) and about 1500 more at school that I want to support. Which leads me to the second one… there is not enough time in a day to do everything I want to do. I want to help guide students to be their best and do their best. Success looks different for everyone.”
As our time came to an end I asked Ms. Beebe: If she could give advice to her High School self, what would she advise? I found Ms. Beebe’s response to be truly inspiring and motivating. It might be exactly what a lot of us need to hear with everything going on in the world right now.
“Never give up. I look back on my almost 40 years and it has not turned out exactly how I planned or thought my life would look like. I wish I could look back at my younger self and give myself the confidence to stand tall… and I am tall at 5 feet 11. Some days are hard, excruciating in fact, but no matter what, keep going because the world needs you. Life has not always been easy and my path has been anything but straight but I wish I could go back and tell myself plans will almost definitely always change – be prepared! Live life with open arms. You will go where you’re supposed to be headed. Enjoy the journey. Don’t rush. Every little path you have to go through will lead you somewhere. And looking back, you will be able to connect the dots. Eventually it will all make sense.”
Ms. Beebe has truly been an inspiration to many other students alongside myself , her dedication and advocating for youth voices is truly motivating. As Assistant Principal, Ms. Beebe encourages students to become confident and considerate leaders of tomorrow.
For more stories about Queen E students, staff, and alumni, keep an eye on The Knight’s Post. As well, make sure to follow Queen E on Instagram at @queenelizabethhs
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