"Originally, this position's job was speech correction," Mrs. Green
explained, "but then it was speech and language therapist. Now we
are speech and language pathologists. We teach mouth movement, work
on language articulation and stuttering affluency. Most of the time,
we see progress. I belong to the American Speech-Language-Hearing
Association. It is a nationwide organization that promotes the
standards we use and our mission."
Beth went to Illinois State
University in Bloomington-Normal to be a speech teacher, even though
she had initially wanted to be a physical therapist.
"I thought I was too tenderhearted to be a physical therapist and
treat children with severe and multiple disabilities," she
remembered, "but children with learning disabilities usually have
other issues, too, so I still ended up with the same situation. No
As discussion began for a mandate that would require schools to
address the needs of students with learning disabilities, she
returned to college and earned her certificate in learning
disabilities. She taught speech half-time and children with learning
disabilities half-time for three years at Hartsburg-Emden and then
was hired at C-EL. She has been in the classroom for a total of 20
Her confidence in ISU's speech department is so well established
and trusting that she continues to refer students to the school's
speech therapy clinic.
"Some of the kids think they're in here to eat pudding and play
games, but they are learning and don't even know it," she said.
"Other kids, without speech issues or learning disabilities, ask me
why I don't call them into my class. That tells me my students are
talking about their time here in a good light. They make the other
kids want to be here, too. I think that's a good review of how
positive they feel about this room and their activity."
Beth said that due to the atmosphere and the school's positive
attitude toward speech therapy and learning disabilities, it wasn't
a question of just being fair, but what the children needed that was
"In a small school, everyone helps out," she explained, "and I
hope I did my part here. I had the advantage that my kids were older
and I could stay late for parents who needed late meetings.
"Chester-East is a nice, supportive place. Parents and
grandparents who graduated from here are bringing their children or
grandchildren to class. It creates a community and connections you
cannot get in another situation."
Beth sees parents as teachers, too, along with the classroom
teacher who is trained in a specific area.
[to top of second column]
She is concerned about the person who will replace her. The
person should continue the therapy side of the program, and there
are not many speech therapists. C-EL has been fortunate that they
could employ a full-time speech therapist who could dedicate her
time to one school. Only time will tell how the situation unfolds.
Beth and her husband have two sons. One son and his wife live in
the West Lincoln-Broadwell school district and have two children in
school. A second son is married and lives in Peoria. They will be
parents in a few months.
"I am never bored," Beth said, "because I like to read, listen to
music, so many things. You should never be bored."
She sings in the choir at the First Presbyterian Church and is
active in church events.
And, of course, there is the garden, which has not received as
much attention as it needs. The "knee-high" weeds will soon be
leaving the landscape.
"I know there is lots of life out there, and I'm interested in so
many things," Beth said.
"I did love this school. After I had taught here awhile, I wanted
to move to this district, even though my sons went to West Lincoln
and we live in that district. It had nothing to do with any dislike
or unhappiness with WL-B, but I loved it here so much I wanted my
sons to go here, too.
"Then my husband said, ‘We can't leave our nice house here just
to move across town.' He was right. And we are still in that nice
house. My sons got a good education at WL-B, and I was happy here
with my C-EL family during the day. Everything works out.
"What I think is nice right now," Beth concluded, "is that we
have other people who are almost ready to retire in a few years, and
others who have just started and will be here for a long time,
hopefully. There is a variety of experience, but a common thread of
happiness and dedication."
[By MARLA BLAIR]
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