Ring the buzzer to enter Boulevard Elementary School and Beth Day is the likely the first friendly face you’ll see at the school office. For the past three years, she’s been the school’s administrative assistant and she’s also a Shaker Schools parent, with students at Woodbury and Boulevard. Mrs. Day---who holds bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in experimental psychology and is ABD in educational psychology---says the work is a shift from her days teaching at John Carroll, but that it’s been just as rewarding. Read our Q&A with Mrs. Day.
What led to you apply for this job?
At the time, the District was in the process of hiring a new Boulevard principal and two of the school’s administrative assistants, Beth Coyne and Darlene France, announced that they were retiring. I was a Boulevard PTO co-president, so I had the opportunity to sit in on the interview panels. I was in Neal Robinson’s interviews, and when they announced they’d hired him, I knew that he was someone I could work for and better, I was ready to go back to work full time. As a parent, I think we were a bit scared that the front office was going to be completely new. But now I realize that it all worked out really well.
What do you like about working in the front office?
It’s a cliche, but the kids really do say some truly funny things. And it’s been so interesting to get to know more of our international families and to see how vested they are in their child’s education. I’ve also learned how much education varies by country. Often, international families will ask me about year-end tests we administer to prove their children can advance to the next grade because that’s what they do in their home country. So, I explain to them how our system here in the States is different and I try to answer any questions about education here that they might have. Also, working here has widened my perspective on what goes on behind the scenes. I always knew that teachers put in a lot of work, but the time and energy they dedicate to their profession is really impressive.
Tell us about educational psychology.
Educational psychology looks at psychology in the classroom---I became interested in that when one of my undergraduate professors took us on a trip to see chimps and whales and the chimps were able to communicate through American Sign Language. As you can imagine, there aren’t that many classrooms filled with chimps, so I learned ASL and shifted my focus to children and studied language development of deaf children in the classroom. When my oldest was small, I taught introduction to psychology classes at John Carroll University, but I also taught a social psychology class that focused on how society views people with disabilities and how that impacts their development, so that tied in a lot of my research in educational psychology.
How do you spend your time when you’re not managing the day’s events at Boulevard?
I enjoy watching my children play their sports and I like to read, though I’ll admit that sometimes, I fall asleep. Also, I love to golf. I’ve been a golfer since I was a kid---it was always a big part of my summers growing up. I think it taught me at a young age to look at things in multiple ways because there’s never just one way to play a shot. I’m also a huge professional football fan and I’ve been know to coach folks through the Fantasy Football draft picks.
Who’s your favorite NFL team?
For sure, the Browns. I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and my dad was a huge Browns fan. So on Sundays, we’d watch the Steelers or the Bills and simultaneously, we’d be listening to the Browns on the radio. I guess I learned to multitask early.