Bethany Maxfield, a 2014 BYU math education graduate, was recognized with a Teacher of Tomorrow Award by the Utah Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (UASCD). The UASCD gives Teacher of Tomorrow Awards annually to teachers who show “exemplary achievement and demonstrated promise,” said Louise R. Moulding, UASCD awards chair.
Bethany Maxfield before receiving her Teacher of Tomorrow Award
Now a first-year math teacher at Timpanogos High School, Maxfield was surprised when she received an email announcing she had been selected for the award. Knowing someone had nominated her gave her the encouragement she needed during her first year of teaching. “When I saw that I had received this award, I felt this extra surge of confidence and this feeling of ‘okay, I am going to keep trying and I am going to keep pushing forward, even though I am feeling like I may never get there,’” Maxfield said.
There can be struggles that come with being a first-year teacher, but Maxfield said receiving this award showed that others had faith in her, so she needed to have faith in herself too. One of Maxfield’s instructors, Scott Hendrickson, associate teaching professor in the Department of Mathematics Education, saw her potential to become an excellent educator and nominated her for the award. “She is willing to stand up to old perspectives and talk about new perspectives,” Hendrickson said. “She is after meaning. She wants [students] to really understand why they do what they do.”
Maxfield said that every day she is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t and then implement successful things. The end goal of each day is to make sure the students feel what they are being taught that day really does matter in their lives.
Never allowing herself to get comfortable is another idea important to Maxfield. To be continually progressing and improving is what she wants to see, not just for herself but for the education profession as well. “She wants to be well prepared,” Hendrickson said. “She will put in the time and effort that it takes to be well prepared to [teach].”
Growing up in Salt Lake City, Maxfield was drawn to the teaching profession because of the opportunity to directly influence people every day. She explained that other jobs just don’t provide the type of interaction with people that she was looking for. Teaching gives her the chance to work directly with students and have an influence on their future.
Learning at BYU prepared Maxfield for what would be ahead as she entered the teaching profession. The classes she took helped prepare her for real-world teaching, rather than the television world of teaching. For example, the course in classroom management helped prepare her for challenges she would encounter in her first year of teaching.
“I think teaching is a day-to-day thing,” Maxfield said. “Every day I am doing my best to make things a little bit better in my classroom and for my students.” It is this kind of dedication and attention to detail that makes Bethany Maxfield indeed a Teacher of Tomorrow.
Writer: Geoffrey Taylor
Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922