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Teacher Feature

She strives to instill early love of learning

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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Kindergarten is just part of Beckie Lopez King's day. It's where you'll find her, Monday through Friday, during the school day. But just because the bell rings doesn't mean Lopez King's day is done. She also spends time at the Boys & Girls Club on campus. I'm bilingual, so I like helping the children learn more English, said Lopez King, who also speaks Spanish. I love Boys & Girls Club. They are doing such a service for the students and families. The bilingual support doesn't stop with the Boys & Girls Club. Lopez King, along with another teacher, offers English as a Second Language, or ESL, courses two nights a week for adults. That's a wonderful experience, teaching English to the parents, Lopez King said. We try to bump their language up a little higher. I'm helping them further their knowledge of the English language, so they can get a better job. Lopez King enjoys working with the whole spectrum of pupils, from kindergarten through adulthood. It's not too overwhelming, she said. As long as I'm organized, it's enjoyable. Scott Pickett, Rock Creek principal, said Lopez King is a great asset to the school. She's a great liaison between the school and different community organizations, and she has really tried to get the community to reach out to Rock Creek, he said. Lysa Sassman, a teacher at Rock Creek, agrees. Beckie is extremely encouraging and supportive of both our students and our staff, she said. I couldn't imagine Rock Creek without her caring, positive presence. Lopez King also uses her bilingual knowledge while working with her kindergartners. Rock Creek's student population is linguistically diverse, and a good number of Lopez King's students are ESL pupils. In a sense you're creating a little English-language-learner army, because English is our language and you need to assimilate to the country you've chosen to live in, she said. Lopez King discovered her desire to teach when her children ” who are now grown ” were young. When our children were small and I volunteered in the classroom, that's when I really knew I wanted to work with children, she said. She's worked with other grade levels, but is particularly fond of kindergarten. They're going to have 13 years of education ahead of them, and it's great teaching them a love of learning, she said of her students. I knew my heart was in kindergarten. I want to be their first experience in school. There's a lot of firsts in kindergarten ” first 100 days, first report card. You're molding them from babies to learners. Independent learners, hopefully. The Journal's Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment online at auburnjournal.com.