DePaul School of Northeast Florida

We Teach The Way They Learn

Bekah Roberts was working at the Target she helped manage for two years after getting her degree at Florida State University when it became clear to her that retail work was lacking the sense of fulfillment she had hoped for in a career.

One resignation letter and a couple of interviews later, she was teaching a classroom full of second graders at Chimney Lakes Elementary. As Bekah worked with kids from 2007 until she had her first child in 2012, some unique abilities emerged with each classroom lesson, and later when she worked with kids on hospital homebound:

"I learned the importance of being patient and compassionate with my students. Many of them had been traumatized with all kinds of situations, so we’d start at a very basic level, and I’d help them to overcome whatever issues held them back. It gave me a sense of achievement to start small and grow from there. You never know when you’re a teacher—whatever you do with them at school might be the best part of their day.”

A born leader who loves learning in her off-time—Bekah admits to a deep love for documentaries—DePaul’s newest teacher spent years honing a skill that came in handy at the school that Teaches The Way They Learn:

“There’s an art to determining the appropriate level of rigor for each student. You want to challenge a child to do what you know he’s capable of, but you don’t want him to get frustrated or discouraged and give up.

It’s such a fine line, and it’s different with each child. Some children can handle it when you push them and say, 'I know you can do this.' They can get over it and move right on. For other kids, it’s more emotional. They think mistakes mean something bad about them.

All children are unique with different needs. You have to be able to modify and accommodate as much as possible while still challenging them to constantly reach for higher goals. It’s my job to envision it: Where can they go? Where do they need to go?”

Like most teachers, Bekah says the easiest part of her career is getting to work with children.

“I have no problem at all fulfilling that role—helping them, having fun with them. I love playing math games with my students because I can see that lightbulb turn on in their brain as they gain number sense and have fun at the same time. Those are my favorite kinds of lessons, learning disguised as fun.”

Bekah joined DePaul in 2017. She has a husband and two children, and she lives in Jacksonville.