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Waters flows into new lifestyle in January

SAT. | 12-11-21 | FEATURES

     It can be a bittersweet moment when you learn that one of your teachers, colleagues or friends is leaving their position and embarking on a new journey. This was the case for many Rose students and staff when Bethany Waters announced that the fall 2021 semester would be her last.

     Waters, an English teacher and Bible Club advisor at Rose, made the decision to depart from room 309 earlier this year, temporarily ending her teaching career to spend more time at home with her husband and two daughters, Evy and Julia.

     “I have two kids, one who is two and another who just turned 5 months,” Waters said. “The jumping back-and-forth between wanting to be a supportive mom and seeing them in all of the major steps in their lives and then also trying to be a really stellar teacher has been really, really hard.”

     She explains how the adjustment from being a teacher to a teacher and a mom introduced stress and created anxiety about fulfilling both roles equally.

     “I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything well,” Waters said. “I felt like I was pulling out ‘fine’ in things across the board and wasn’t giving my all to teaching or my all to my kids.”

     To understand the impact that Waters has had on Rose over the past seven-and-a-half years, starting at the beginning is important. From a young age, Waters knew that the classroom was going to be her place. 

     “I come from a family of teachers who are super great and supportive and have always loved teaching,” Waters

waters retirement

Photo by Brena Gauland

said. “I even used to line up my stuffed animals and teach them.”

     Although she has always known that education was her calling, it was when she was in high school that her decision to study English education was solidified.

     “I have always loved reading and writing, but [I] had a teacher in high school who did not really inspire that, as we did a lot of diagramming and grammar work,” Waters said. “I have always loved creative writing and she did not really give any outlets for that, so it frustrated me.”

     When Waters was in her final year at East Carolina University studying Secondary Education and English Literature and was looking for jobs post-graduation, she found Rose calling her name.

     “When I graduated in 2014, I applied to several places in the county because I knew I wanted to work in Pitt County and I hoped that there was a position open at Rose, but I wasn’t sure,” Waters said. “I got called in in June and was given an interview with Mrs. Jacobson and Mrs. Berry and got hired.”

     Her reason for staying at Rose is found in two groups of people: her students and colleagues.

     “I love the students, and I think the faculty is honestly some of the best that you [can] find,” Waters said. “Everyone is very knowledgeable in their field [and] genuinely caring about their students; I think that is very rare.”

     The past seven years that Waters has been at Rose have influenced the Rose community as a whole and given Waters plenty of favorite moments and parts of her career.

     “[My favorite part of teaching is] forming relationships with the students—getting to know students of different backgrounds and getting to have some influence over them, even if it is very minimal.”

     Although the choice to leave Rose and spend more time with her family was a bittersweet one, Waters is thankful for the support she has received from her students and fellow teachers following her announcement.

     “[My students and the staff] reacted really positively,” Waters said. “There were definitely some ‘aw man, we’re going to miss you,’ which is nice to hear, from students and teachers, but [they] were very supportive and understanding.”

     If you ask any of Waters’ students what their favorite part of her class is, you will most likely hear an answer similar to her own.

     “One thing that I have always done in my teaching career is a little bell ringer at the beginning of each day,” Waters said. “We’ve done ‘Mechanics Monday’, which is grammar and ‘Testing Tuesday’, which is test prep; but Fridays have always been ‘Frivolous Friday’, which has been a game or something funny to unwind.”

     Although it was a difficult decision for her to make, Waters is excited for this new adventure and to be present for her daughters’ milestones. 

    “I want to be there the first time Julia sits up on her own and the first time Evy goes potty—just those little things, being there, being supportive and loving on my little girls,” Waters said.

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