Bales fifth-grade language arts teacher Betsy Conn has worked at Bales since its opening 26 years ago. She grew up in Nacogdoches and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University alongside her husband Lance. The two then started looking for jobs and found themselves in Friendswood.
“I knew nothing about Friendswood, I didn’t know anything at all,” Conn said. “I applied for my job, interviewed and was offered the job right then, so I’ve been here ever since.”
Though much has changed since that day, Conn’s love for what she does has not waivered.
“Obviously, since I’ve been here so long, I love it,” Conn said. “I love the kids, I love the community, and most of all, I love who I work with too.”
Her love for what she does is projected in Conn’s every action.
“Betsy is a teacher that goes the extra mile for all of her students,” Bales Principal JT Patton said. “She does a great job of making students feel safe and positive by creating a classroom atmosphere that is welcoming and fun. She does all of these things every day and over many years. Her dedication towards a positive approach is what makes her stand out to the staff, parents and students.”
One of the ways Conn creates a welcoming atmosphere is by greeting her students at the door every morning.
“Every morning when the kids come in, I greet them at the door and I always try to have something positive to say to them,” Conn said. “They see you care about them which will help you get more out of them in the classroom. If they can tell that you care about them and what is going on in their lives, then they will perform a lot better.”
However, Conn does not only make an effort in the classroom; she makes an effort outside of class too.
“Sometimes I go to [the students’] basketball games or dance recitals,” Conn stated. “They run up to you and get excited because you’re not supposed to be anywhere but the school in their minds.”
Being such a caring teacher is something Conn learned from her first-grade teacher.
“She really inspired me to be a teacher,” Conn said. “I made a connection with her, which is what I try to do with my kids also. I think if you can form a connection with a kid, you can encourage them to do almost anything.”
However, Conn’s biggest influence to become a teacher and her value of education came from her grandfather.
“Although my grandfather was a successful businessperson, he did not have a college degree,” Conn said. “But he instilled in me to get an education and was just one of my biggest inspirations.”
Now, Conn is serving as that inspiration to others.
“I have had several students go on to be teachers,” Conn said. “Some of them have actually told me that I inspired them to go and be a teacher, so that’s pretty neat. I hope I have helped them be successful in some way.”
Patton said there is no doubt Conn has helped her students be successful.
“She is always willing to listen, and always willing to try something that may make a difference for a student,” Patton said. “Students notice her passion for reading/language arts and that makes a difference in how they see their own learning.”
Just as Conn has helped her students be successful, Patton said he wants to help Conn continue to find success.
“Bales wants to support Betsy with whatever she sees in her future,” Patton said. “Betsy will continue to learn about how students learn and what she can do to meet their needs. She will also continue to be a teacher that is welcoming and friendly. We hope she stays at Bales for years to come. We are lucky to have you, Betsy.”
On behalf of FISD, we are very lucky, indeed.