Teacher Tuesday – Meet Ms. Behrens

Ms. BehrensMeet Ms. Behrens

Ms. Behrens is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher who has been with APS, at Swanson for the past six years.

Teaching runs in Ms. Behrens’ family.  Her mom was a fifth-grade teacher for twenty years, and still works in Loudoun County as an administrator.  “Experiencing school as a “teacher’s kid” can really change your perspective on the amount of work and love that go into this profession.  She taught me that teaching is so much more than just lesson planning and grading—it’s building strong relationships (She just went to one of her former fifth grade student’s weddings last year!) and supporting your students inside and outside of school.”

Ms. Behrens and the 7th grade English team teach in lockstep with one another. They plan all their units collaboratively and try to create lessons that put the child and the student first. “Sometimes that means mixing up our classes so that we can differentiate, while other times it means merging our classes together so that we can co-teach certain concepts.  I’ve always felt supported to teach in a flexible way to best meet the needs of the students.  I think that is something special and unique to our school/district.”

When asked what keeps her motivated, Ms. Behrens replied, “My colleagues are my biggest source of motivation.  I am so grateful to have an amazing CLT and 7th grade team that I work with daily.  Each person that I work with has taught me something new and/or challenged me in some way to step out of my comfort zone.  Teaching can feel isolating at times, especially when you first get started.  I’ve been extremely lucky to work with supportive team members throughout my years at Swanson, and I wouldn’t be the teacher that I am today without their guidance and help along the way.”

What are the biggest joys and challenges of Ms. Behrens’ job?  “My greatest joy with teaching is getting to know students on a personal level and watching them grow as students and individuals over the years.  My biggest challenge is finding the time to reach each student and their individual needs within the timeframe of the school day/year.”

If Ms. Behrens were not teaching, her dream job would be working at a publishing house.  “I’d love to read pitches and see a story go from an idea to a published novel.”

The last book that Ms. Behrens read was Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly.  “It’s a retelling of Cinderella from one of the stepsister’s point-of-view, but it also incorporates characters such as Fate and Chance.  It’s a story about a girl who is unknowingly trying to change her destiny and explores the idea that there is no one definition of “beauty.”