The Scituation

Scituate High School's student newspaper

The Scituation

The Scituation

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Elizabeth McDonnell–Inspiring Students through Chemistry

Beth+McDonnell+is+a+role+model+for+her+chemistry+students
Beth McDonnell is a role model for her chemistry students

Scituate High School boasts numerous outstanding faculty and staff members; however, Elizabeth (Beth) McDonnell stands out to many of her students. She’s a devoted science teacher, an avid Boston sports fan, and an inspiring role model with an unwavering devotion to educating Scituate’s youth.

McDonnell can connect with her students on a personal level. She takes pride in making an effort to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses, which promotes an inclusive learning environment. While it may not be easy to identify differences in learning styles among her students, McDonnell is determined to do so because it results in a better experience for both students and herself.

As a little girl, McDonnell remembers playing “school” with her sisters–taking the role of the teacher, of course. Growing up in Ohio, she always wanted to become a teacher because education was her pride and joy. In eleventh grade, McDonnell’s high school science teacher, Dina Newman, sparked her interest in teaching chemistry. Newman’s sincere teaching techniques influenced McDonnell’s views on classroom instruction, and to this day, they stay in touch. McDonnell said Newman “taught with values,” a concept that still inspires her.

McDonnell knows chemistry can be challenging for students; however, she believes each student’s grit and determination benefit the class. Notably, McDonnell keeps each student engaged in her class by incorporating fun concepts such as “Fact or Flim-Flam” (true or false) questions and examples into her lessons.

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In addition to her commitment during school hours, McDonnell is a wife and mother. After working as a teacher for 13 years, she knows how to balance work with her personal life. At school, you may find McDonnell grading papers or teaching students how to combine formulas chemically; however, when she’s home, her focus turns to her husband and two-year-old daughter. Quality time is significant for their family, and while she acknowledges teaching is a fun challenge, McDonnell makes sure to spend time at home relaxing and catching up with her family. One of their favorite family activities is baking–especially chocolate chip banana blondies!

The definition of community is very simple to McDonnell–it is a strong foundation that comes together for others when they need it most. She believes a community can make or break a school environment, noting that she fell in love with Scituate Public Schools for that reason. McDonnell sees teachers, parents, and students working together to create an uplifting learning environment that appreciates each unique spirit. McDonnell also feels connected to Scituate due to the friendships she has formed with her coworkers and students.

For anybody who has not yet met McDonnell, make sure to say “hello” because the enthusiasm from students motivates her each morning.