November Teacher of the Month: Melissa Beaudry

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Our November Teacher of the Month has a calming effect on her second grade students.

One of them, who entered her name for Teacher of the Month consideration, tells us that when he’s nervous about school-related things, all he has to do is say her name several times and it calms him down.

“I breathe when I say her name … Mrs. Beaudry, Mrs. Beaudry …” said Skinner Elementary student Christopher Tucker.

Christopher and his classmates agree that in their minds, Mrs. Beaudry is the best teacher ever. They say she is strict, even gets angry sometimes. But they understand.

“I like her because she makes things that are boring fun,” said student Maya Lambert.Teacher

“For me, it’s mostly always fun, but sometimes she has to get real,” Christopher said.

Melissa Beaudry’s second floor classroom at Chicago’s Skinner West Elementary school is bright and colorful with an owl theme.

“For a second grader, they are whimsical and fun and colorful to look at. But we’re also learning about character traits and how to be good people on the inside,” Beaudry said.

Mrs. Beaudry’s second graders are encouraged to be careful observers and when they excel at that they earn “Hoot Loot.” The Hoot Loot allows them to purchase classroom privileges from the “Owl-Outlet“ store. For instance, hat wearing in class is a no-no.

“If we pay 20 Hoot Loots to Mrs. Beaudry, we get to wear our favorite hat all day,” Christopher said.

Hoot Loot is a big classroom attraction but equally important is the Bucket System — created to encourage students to show kindness toward one another, and in some instances, to get things of their little chests.

“I think it’s so important that they really take this to heart, so in our class we are bucket fillers,” Beaudry said.

“When the mean group of friends make me so mad, when I need to let it all out, I write a bucket to one of my great friends, who are so nice to me, and it takes all my feelings out and I feel real good,” student Alice Davis said.

On the wall outside Mrs. Beaudry’s classroom, she has posted an open letter to her students which reads: “You are listened to … you are cared for … you are important … you will succeed.”

“I know we are going to have presidents and doctors and all of that, which is so great, and that’s a big piece of it, but I talk to them, too, about the other side of it, not just being smart, it’s that well-rounded individual, so when we are out in the world we know how to conduct ourselves,” Beaudry said.

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