Meet your teacher: Beth Siminski



Name: Beth Siminski

Grade/Subject at what school: Elementary Art, K-4, Maple Glen Elementary

Number of years teaching: 20 + 3 years as a substitute+ 3 years of pre-school

Background/Schooling (college & high school):

Warren Central High School, Indianapolis; B.S. Elementary Education, Ball State University, Muncie; Endorsement in Art Education, Herron School of Art, Indianapolis; M.A. Curriculum and Assessment, Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion.

Why did you become a teacher? I have always been a “kid magnet.” I grew up as the neighborhood babysitter and played “school” with my young friends all the time. My favorite teacher, my sixth grade teacher, Jack McKinney, encouraged me to think about teaching. Years later, I was fortunate enough to teach with him, while he was a principal. I began my career as a classroom teacher but really struggled when I had a particularly difficult class. I also used art to enhance my lessons because my children developed a greater understanding of the course work. I felt most alive as an educator when I was teaching art! I made the decision to continue my education in the field of art after reading What Color is Your Parachute. I have never looked back!

What goals do you have for your students?

My students surprise me every year with the artwork they create. By demystifying the art processes, I explain my expectations to my students. I am never disappointed! I believe children want to do their best. They want to please the adults in their lives, and they have greater pride in their work when they know they have done their best. (Hard working is one of Westfield Washington Schools “Guiding Principles”.) I want them all to appreciate the artwork they view in their future and make the artistic processes a part of their lives forever.

What do you encourage parents to do at home to help their children strengthen particular skills? It is so important that parents give their children the opportunity to explore the artistic process. Parents don’t want to hear this because it truly means allowing their children to make messes. I continue to be surprised by the number of kindergarten children who have never used scissors, glue or paint before. It makes me sad. A parent can learn so much about their child from their artwork or how they use their tools. A child who grabs two brushes at once to apply paint to paper is an exuberant child. They are expressing themselves with such joy!

Name your favorite movie. I absolutely love the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I start my Christmas season watching it every year. It is a wonderful (no pun intended) illustration about how one person can make the world a better place. “Here’s to George Bailey, the richest man in town!”

Name your favorite musician or band. I have always loved the music of James Taylor. I’m of his generation. I used to follow the Indiana band, Wright Brothers Overland Stage, when I was younger, and I still see them about once a year. A current band I enjoy is Maroon 5. “The Voice” introduced me to Adam Levine.

What’s something your students might not know about you? Before Warren Central had its Performing Arts Center, it had a dynamic music and drama department. It is because of its art programs that the Performing Arts Center was built. I played the viola in the Warren Central Orchestra and at Ball State. I am also a thespian.