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Alumna Bethaney Jones Awarded Rookie Teacher of the Year at Dulles Elementary

Bethaney Jones
First-year teacher Bethany Jones said she tries to cater to each student’s learning style.

Posted Jan. 24, 2017 – Bethaney Jones caught the teaching bug as a teenager after working with children at her church.

“I really enjoyed seeing them learn and grow,” said Jones, who herself has blossomed into an award-winning teacher.

Jones won the Rookie Teacher of the Year Award at Dulles Elementary School in December 2016 – just seven months after graduating from the University of Houston College of Education.

Hours after winning, Jones emailed one of her mentors, Amber Thompson, associate chair of the college’s teacher education program.

“I never imagined that I would receive that kind of honor in my first year,” Jones wrote. “I receive this award with absolute joy and thankfulness for my education at UH COE.”

Jones said later that she works to connect her lessons to the real world, knowing that one size does not fit all for students.

“I am visual learner myself so I understand that sometimes you have to present information in a number of ways,” she said. “This is important to me as well as my students since we all have different backgrounds and experiences.”

Jones said she learned another valuable lesson from lecturer Carrie Cutler, who always had a huge smile and great attitude. “I keep this in mind when I am with my students,” Jones said.

She also thanked, Christine Beaudry, a visiting assistant professor at the college. “Her classes were always useful and thought provoking.”

Kyella Griffin, principal at Dulles Elementary in the Fort Bend Independent School District, described Jones as a dedicated professional.

“She honors and appreciates what it means to be an educator,” Griffin said. “She does not take her teaching responsibilities lightly, and it shows in all that she does for her students, colleagues and the Dulles Elementary community.”

Jones said she has considered becoming a math specialist or getting a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. But for now, she said, “I am enjoying the daily adventures of learning with my students.”

Jones shares these tips for new teachers:

  • Be patient. Your first year will be a learning process for you and your students. You will not have it all together instantly so give yourself time.
  • Trust yourself. You are stronger and better than you think.
  • Always be teachable. Never stop learning and allow others with experience to help.
  • Enjoy the journey. You have worked so hard to become a teacher. Enjoy the process of developing as a teacher in your first year.
  • Have fun. Teaching is one of the toughest but best jobs. There are so many great adventures and lessons that await you in your first year.