Mrs. Mama Bear


A mother of three boys, and a wife to an Australian man, Beth Simmonds has expressed her parental love for her students as a mother and a teacher. She knows that every child is special and treats her students like her biological kids.

Due to covid, there was an educational gap in the student’s school life. The lack of social interaction made students stick to small groups of friends. Simmonds says that COVID led to the vast use of technology and the social gap it created among students.

“I think that this group of post-COVID students are empathetic towards each other. You guys feel each other’s pain, look out for each other and there is less bullying going on. There’s a sense of class belonging. It’s not like the previous school spirit. Nowadays you guys use a lot of technology, unlike before due to the online school that went on during COVID,” said Simmonds.

From the beginning of the school year, teachers try to create a bond with their students. They use either the old techniques that have been used on the previous students or they come up with a new style if the previous one wasn’t as helpful as they expected. In this case, Simmonds explains the methods she has always used to connect with the students each year.

“I say on day one that I won’t ask you guys to do anything that I’m not willing to do. I try hard to live up to that. I’m not perfect, and I’m sure I make mistakes. When I mess something up, I admit I’ve messed something up. I think allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of you guys and allowing you guys to see that I make mistakes, helps our relationship,” said Simmonds.

A teacher-student relationship is just as important as a mother-child relationship. They try as much as possible to get involved in their student’s life, whether at school or in their various activities. Simmonds tries to include herself in her student’s life, during school hours or not.

“I think it’s important to attend their events, and not just be the teacher from 7:25 to three o’clock. I wasn’t opportune to see the play Little Women, because of many students on that one. I took the time to tell each one of them I’m excited that you made the play and I’m sorry, I can’t attend it. I go to sporting events, and I cheer for my kids. When K-pop showed up and was like ‘we don’t have a sponsor.’ I sponsor their event and I think that shows it’s walking the walk, not just talking to talk. Letting kids see that I do care and I’m willing to put in my own time to make them comfortable,” said Simmonds.

Sometimes a teacher can sense what’s wrong with their students due to the bond they have created. Likewise, regarding the sudden change in a student’s behavior, Simmonds clarifies how she tries to talk it out with her students when they are having a bad time or when she recognizes a switch in character.

“From day one, I build a relationship with my kids. Show them vulnerability within me or that they feel comfortable telling me when something’s wrong. Even though they aren’t obligated to tell me, it’s an invitation to tell me what’s wrong. I think that open communication and making sure that it goes both ways. It’s not just an authority figure that’s like “Why are you acting up today?”. I think the closer I am with my students, the more I can notice when something is off when it’s something small. Usually, kids that are acting now are doing so as a defense mechanism because something hurts. So I try not to approach it as it’s a personal thing,” said Simmonds.

Not every teacher celebrates their child’s birthday. Simmonds, on the other hand, started celebrating it when she realized how some high school students don’t celebrate their birthdays at all.

“It came to my attention my second year when my co-workers had thrown me a little birthday party. They decorated my room, brought a cake, flowers and, stuff. Some of my kids were like that’s nice, I don’t get that anymore. I was like what do you mean you don’t get that anymore? And they were like my parents think I’m too old for birthdays. So they don’t get a cake or singing or anything at home. When I realized that there are kids sitting in my class that don’t that aren’t celebrated. For whatever reason, right? Going through a financially hard time or their parents feel that they’re too old for that sort of thing. So I thought how simple to just get a cupcake. It doesn’t cost me a whole lot. And it takes a few minutes of class time. It helps build that relationship. For some of these kids, it’s the only special thing or acknowledgment that they get for their birthday,” said Simmonds.

Each student has something unique that is different from others. Simmonds illustrates how she approaches each student and respects them individually.

“Every kid comes to you with a different story. You just have to approach each kiddo and listen to them, what they need, and what motivates them. You have to be invested in them. Try to figure out the thing that you have in common or at least something to talk about. Try to find out how to best motivate each kid because everyone is unique said Simmonds.

Beth Simmonds who has been teaching for the past ten years tries as much as possible to connect with her kids every school year. She has taken it as her responsibility to celebrate her kids’ birthdays so that they can feel special. She makes herself vulnerable so that her students can feel comfortable talking to her when they are down.