Editor’s Note: This is the third part of our Fast Class video series, which showcases faculty and staff members discussing their areas of interest and expertise.
What does it mean to be teacher?
Andy Beigel, associate professor of education, prefers to answer that question by first explaining what it doesn’t mean
“Being a teacher is more than standing in front of a classroom, giving multiple guess tests, and lecturing,” said Beigel, who also serves as director of education graduate studies.
Rather, it means to evoke learning in students.
A good teacher is “someone who draws out of his or her students what they have learned, what has been cultivated through his or her teaching and guidance,” and then making assessments, according to Beigel.
Assessment is often a scary word in education because “people think it means tests and grades,” said Beigel, who indicated that is not a belief to which the education department at Keuka College subscribes.
“At Keuka,” said Beigel, “we believe all students are capable of being cultivated, all teachers are capable of evoking from their students what they learned, and assessment means sitting beside, observing, commenting, and making students feel successful.”
Andy Beigel has been involved in education, at least the way he sees it, since the mid-1970s.
Education, learning and sharing are passions he developed over time starting with his Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Potsdam, moving through a series of teaching positions leading to a master’s degree at Potsdam, and developing more with a doctorate from Penn State. At each stop along this path from Potsdam to the present, where he is a professor of education at Keuka College, Beigel has tried to share these joint passions for learning and sharing with the students he teaches.
He has had lots of practice in the learning part as he and his wife, Marianna, have three children: Virginia, who works in Albany for the Commission on Quality Control; son Peter, who works in the hospitality industry in Florida; and their youngest, Anna Kate, who will start college this fall. Each child taught him something new about “how to communicate with people and how to begin to understand what it means to teach, and that we are always students,” while his wife gently and constantly reminds him why he became an educator. Beigel thanks all four of these most important people for their support and love.
He hopes that everyone who sees this short video will recognize that he or she can be an educator, and he or she can help another person learn.