Many people frequently ask, “Why in the world would you want to teach middle schoolers?” (With a strange and concerned look on their faces of shock mingled with pity.) They also say, “Are you crazy? I could never do that!” I just smile or laugh and then give them an earful. To begin, I love middle school students so much and feel privileged to be part of their formative years. Statistics say on average a child is who they will be at their core by the end of 8th grade, in terms of character development, their moral compass and habits. This is great news! It means that we can still have a huge impact on their lives in and outside of the classroom. In middle school, students are old enough to engage in real world/real life problems, conversations and debates. At the same time they are also young enough to be open-minded and not jaded by the world quite yet. This is a “sweet spot” in my opinion socially, academically, emotionally and spiritually. I hope to shift the stereotypes of the “typical teenager” to positive thoughts of formation, growth and maturity during this time in their lives.
I absolutely love teaching English! I know that also sounds insane, but I hope that my passion is communicated daily through my lessons. On any given day you will find students engaged in creative writing, organizational writing strategies, grammar songs and jokes, dramatic literary readings or vocabulary stories/skits. My hope is to engage my students with practical, inspiring, and challenging lessons. A very unique aspect to my job is getting to know my students on a deeper level through their writing. It is so rewarding to see progression and voice evolve through the writing process and I feel privileged to be a trusted reader of their work. It can be very intimidating to write and some students feel very vulnerable in the process. My goal is to build confidence in their writing through helping them with their organization, vocabulary, and editing skills.
Many people might not know that I was once a student at Baymonte. I transferred to Baymonte as a 6th grader from a public school and stayed through 8th grade. Baymonte was a safe haven after a tumultuous start to my 6th grade year at a public school. When I arrived at Baymonte I was welcomed by amazing teachers and made some very dear, lifelong friends. After I completed my California Teaching Credential and Masters Degree, I spent time in public and private high schools teaching English. The “jaded” attitude of some of the high schoolers, I had mentioned before, was prevalent in these schools and I knew I needed a change. I knew that moving to a middle school was the right career move. Getting hired at Baymonte to teach Middle School English was a dream come true and felt like I was “home”. I am so thankful for my 14 wonderful years teaching in this fabulous community.
My passion is for kids and their success. The heartbeat of what I do is to not only help them build their reading skills through the Barton program, but to encourage them in their walk in life. I was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Scotts Valley when I was three. I have lived in Scotts Valley since then. I was in a family with three boys and two girls. I met my husband Peter at church. We got married and had our first daughter. She currently lives in Scotts Valley and is an amazing mom of two wonderful boys.
We felt God’s call on our lives to go to the mission field. We went to the Ivory Coast, West Africa for one year. Our second daughter was born there and is currently serving in a missions capacity in Africa. This was an amazing time in our lives. We fell in love with the African people and the joy they possess regardless of financial status or worldly goods. We worked in a Bible College there and were completely blessed by this experience.
We returned to the states and God led us to Baymonte. Words cannot express our gratitude to Baymonte and the staff for the care the staff invested in our children. Not only that, but I had the privilege to work at the school.
For the past fifteen years I have been honored to teach in our IPI (Individual Program of Instruction) class. This class uses the Barton program and is a phonics based, multi-sensory program for those kids who need some assistance with their reading. This program has resulted in many children who previously struggled in reading to develop those skills in a way they understand. There is nothing like seeing a student “light up” when they are able to read a word that they could not at an earlier time.
I want my students to know how deeply God loves them and how incredibly special they are. I am so incredibly blessed by each child that sits across from me every day. I thank God every day for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing team.
Two Baymonte families had this to say about Ellen:
“Her expertise is greater than helping a child with their learning needs. She has the incredible gift of seeing the emotional and spiritual needs of the child and how that affects their learning. Through Ellen’s attention, love, care, and expert teaching, kids not only progress in their reading, but keep the love for learning and feel valued.”’
“Ellen has had such a huge impact on my son’s success at Baymonte. She has always provided him with a safe and encouraging environment to work in. She has instilled confidence in him to succeed in areas of education that are difficult for him. I don’t know what our family would do without her!”
What a great time it was with Miss Bliss’s 5th graders at the Fun Day Party making ice cream sundaes, having station games with oversized UNO cards, winning raffle prizes (everyone won a prize) and ending with a water balloon toss out on the field. Such fun for all!
The ninth annual Baymonte Tech Trek fundraiser will be on Saturday, October 13, 2018. It takes many volunteers to make this event a success. If you are available to help in the week prior to the event or the morning of the event you may sign up here.
For more information on the Tech Trek event visit our Tech Trek webpage here. Thank you for your support!
I absolutely LOVE working at Baymonte Christian School. Each morning I step foot on campus, the students make me feel loved and welcome. My favorite part of teaching PE is seeing students being kind and encouraging to each other. It’s so awesome to see kids helping each other. Sometimes the older kids will ask to help lead warm-ups with the younger kids. Kindness is one of my biggest teaching points when it comes to learning how to treat one another, I love seeing this expressed by students saying “good job” or “nice try” to each other. Kind words can truly lift up a child and build confidence to help them in PE and in life.
My inspiration to teach at an elementary school comes from my mother who was an elementary school counselor for 23 years. Over the years she taught me that we can build up a child by simply showing them God’s love, by encouraging them and making them feel valued and cared for. Every single child needs someone to believe in them by becoming their biggest fan or cheerleader. This is my goal at Baymonte Christian School.
To me, physical education is designed to encourage students to want to exercise and to teach them the importance of getting along with one another. In many games they have to learn to share and work together in groups. I highly promote encouraging each other and not putting each other down. This makes PE a positive and fun place to be. I’m also teaching the students that you don’t just have to run laps to keep in shape, but playing fun games like, “Flamingo Relay Races” or “Who Let the Dogs Out” can also be fun. In these games two students are chasing another student as they are running on the field trying not to get tagged while loud, silly music is being played. All of this helps to make staying in shape fun!
One of my favorite aspects of teaching is introducing the students to the history of each sport. This is where the students learn not only how to play the sport but where the sport originated, what country invented it, and what year and how the sport got started. It is so fun seeing the students perk up in interest as they learn! It teaches them that they too can be creative and dream up games or sports that nobody has ever played.
Towards the end of each school year I get to coordinate Track and Field Day. It was my favorite part of the school year when I was a kid, and believe it or not, I still get excited for it. It’s where each class is given a particular color, wears that color t-shirt for the day while they compete against their classmates in different events. Every child tries to earn as many ribbons possible in 12 different events. It’s a really fun team-building event that helps promote each class working together by competing and cheering for each other!
Overall, I would say it is a true honor to teach at Baymonte Christian School. It is a gift to lead and serve our amazing kindergarten through fifth graders, alongside a staff who are here to make a positive difference. It’s a privilege God has given me to have the opportunity to make a difference for good in all of these lives. I want to help each child feel loved and cared for and to feel that they are special. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” – What great hope we have in God to give us the strength we need each day!
Each month at Baymonte Christian School we highlight a positive character trait with a corresponding Bible verse. September’s character trait is Selflessness.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
5 Ways to be Selfless
It’s easy to get so absorbed in your own life that you lose track of what’s important. Becoming more selfless could change the way you see yourself and the world. Jesus said it is the second most important of all God’s commandments: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Mark 12:31. If you’re interested in doing more for others, try these 5 ways of being selfless.
Find volunteer opportunities in your community that match your talents. At BCS we have many volunteer opportunities. Our upcoming Tech Trek event takes many volunteers to be a successful event. If you’re available to give an hour or more of your time the week before or day of the event, please let us know! A list of needs is coming in an email soon.
Empathy is the ability for one person to understand how another person feels. You can increase your empathy by paying closer attention to the experiences of others. A way we foster empathy at BCS is by taking our seventh grade students on a mission’s trip to Rancho de Sus Ninos. Rancho is an orphanage in Tecate, Mexico. The children at the orphanage have been taken from unsafe homes and live at Rancho with loving house parents. We take our students into the community to see how others live in poorer parts of Mexico. By bringing our students into these areas, where kids are without loving biological parents and/or living in poverty, we hope to instill a sense of empathy for others. Last year our eighth graders went to Houston to help with the hurricane relief efforts as well.
To become truly selfless, you can integrate giving into your daily life. Big gestures that you only do once or twice a year are great. Everyone appreciates those acts. But, daily giving takes you to a higher level of selflessness. Daily acts of giving could include helping a lost person find directions, giving someone a cold bottle of water on a hot day, or offering smiles to random people on the street. Another way to give is to make a meal for a family who may be going through a transitional time (welcoming home a new baby, healing from a surgery, grieving a death, etc.). At BCS our Family Cares Committee makes meals for families. If you need a meal or would like to be part of the committee to provide a meal you may sign up here.
Learning how to accept help when someone offers it is a form of selflessness. Give other people opportunities to develop selflessness by accepting gifts graciously.
Choosing to give is an act of selflessness that benefits the entire community. Look for charities that you have an interest in. It’s the sacrifice that makes your giving selfless, not the size of your contribution.
Lisa Patterson fully embodies the spirit of Baymonte. Lisa has worked in every capacity at Baymonte Christian Preschool including teaching the 3-year-old class, 4-year-old class, 5-year-old class, rocking infants, cooking, playing with toddlers, co-directing and has served as the administrative director over all three of our preschool campuses for the last four years. She enjoys being involved in the transformation of a shy, tentative child at the beginning of a school year into a confident student. She understands how important the early years are for healthy growth and by fostering a nurturing and encouraging preschool environment, she graduates students who love school. She captures each year of preschool on camera and gifts her families with a DVD full of photos of friendships, art projects, learning, and play. Lisa loves family, not only her husband and two beautiful daughters but also her Baymonte family. Her preschool staff are very special to her as well as the preschool families she serves. One reason she helped open Baymonte’s toddler and infant rooms was to support her preschool families with loving childcare for younger siblings. Lisa is pictured here with three sets of siblings from her preschool, toddler and infant rooms.
One Baymonte preschool parent said this about Lisa, “Baymonte preschool was amazing for our two sons and our family. Lisa and her staff made us feel welcome and our boys thrived under their care.” We are thankful for her dedication to our school and preschool families. To see Lisa’s bio visit our website here.
What would it take for you to look forward to Mondays?
For me, it is one of my favorite days of the week. Strange, I know.
But this is why I love teaching—I get to create whatever reality I want within the four walls of my classroom. I have my objectives written out and then it’s up to me to find fun ways to communicate and teach them.
I often think of it like this: if I’m not looking forward to what we are going to be doing on Monday, how much more must my students be dreading it? I work hard to implement lessons and strategies that make me look forward to work, knowing that many times, this will create an atmosphere that students enjoy being in (though, how uncool would it be to admit you like school as an 11-year-old?!).
One example is our weekly “exhortation cards” in class. Solomon wrote that life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and I could not agree more. What we say has power. Our words convey thought and have the power to shape culture and change lives. Every week, my students are assigned a random person in the class and are tasked with writing an encouraging and uplifting hand-written note to them right then. They can offer a prayer for the person, recount a memory with them, or encourage them in who they are or their character.
Rather than only offering students a lecture on loving our neighbor or showing another PowerPoint on what “love” and “neighbor” means in the Greek, I try to get them engaged and involved in doing what the Word of God says.
And the real beauty is that I am not alone. I work alongside a staff that puts in this same (if not more) effort and love into their classes to make them engaging and informative. The culture I try to create in my class is really just a replica of what I receive from the staff around me every day. It is not unusual for another teacher to pop their head in my room just to say hi or to get a random text from a co-worker in the evening asking how life is going. I simply try to teach my class how to act in a way that I have seen this amazing staff act towards me.
I will leave you with this thought: if you are not looking forward to your Mondays, what can you do to change it? Whose office can you pop your head into to offer a quick hello or small encouragement? Who can you build up? Who can you write a quick exhortation card to today? Doing these small things may just create a culture that you and your co-workers look forward to being in (even on a Monday!).
This is my motivation for creating a lively and fun classroom atmosphere. This is why if you were to stick your head in my room on a random day you might see the Bible being taught in unorthodox ways. One example that often surprises people to hear is that we do not have weekly memory verses in my class. Now before you label me a heretic, there is a very calculated and specific reason (like most unusual things I do) for this.
I found that by middle school, students who had to do weekly memory verses often memorized it just enough for the test on Friday and then forgot it. Seeing this, I worked to figure out how to get a verse to root in their heart. One of the ways I do this is through a Socratic Seminar.
Rather than repeat a verse over and over again (which is great for memorization), I sit my students in a circle and share a verse. Then I will ask my students how they would implement it into their life. As the class engages in a 20 or 30-minute discussion, they not only hear the verse and its meaning multiple times, they also build a connection with the words of Scripture to the real world. And often times, they remember the verse longer than if I had given a pop quiz on it, and they enjoyed the activity because they got to talk rather than stress about an exam.
It is things like that which keep me excited and coming back to class with energy and vigor day after day.
Mr. Fujishin has been a Bible teacher at Baymonte Christian School for three years, to see his full bio visit our school website here. He is also the founder of STAR Conversations, an online course in conversation and connection.
Students can now turn their summer reading logs into the library to redeem their incentive prizes! The best times to redeem summer reading prizes are during recess, middle school break, lunch or after school. Students may also redeem their prizes during media time, but it is preferable that they come during non-class time.
If your student has lost the reading log, there are extra copies available in the library or you may have your child record the titles read on a piece of lined paper. All recorded books should have been read during the summer – books read since August 29th do not count as summer reading. It is also important that the reading logs are signed by a parent or guardian.
The last day to turn in summer reading logs is September 19th.
Questions? Email Mrs. Upton: email@example.com