In the past years, we have had many teachers retire. This year, everyone’s favorite teacher, Ronda McBeth, will be retiring. McBeth has been teaching for twenty years now, while seventeen and a half of them are here at Barlow. McBeth has not just taught at Barlow but has also taught at Corvallis High School and Central Valley High School. She has been an English teacher and a theater teacher. For five years, she taught English, and for four and a half years, she was the drama teacher at Corvallis and Central Valley High School. McBeth was also a theater teacher here at Barlow for twelve years.
Every teacher has something they love about Barlow and for McBeth, what she loves the most are teenagers. “Teenagers are annoying, but I love to tease them. They are funny, smart, and insightful; while sometimes I forget their kids because they act like adults,” McBeth says. McBeth is a favorite teacher to many of her students, one of them being Madison Primiano, who is a senior at Barlow. Primiano has only had McBeth as a teacher their senior year, and she’s already their favorite. Primiano says, “she is always caring and understanding and will always have an honest conversation with you.” Then went on to say, “she also takes a student’s mental health seriously as well as her own.” Primiano and other students of McBeth feel more connected and feel they can trust each other when McBeth tells a little detail of her personal life. Primiano will be missing the most by walking into class every day excited to be there, ready to have a conversation with her and their little group. “We are sad she is leaving, but we wish her nothing but the best,” Primiano says. For McBeth, something that she will miss is also building relationships with her students. During McBeth’s years at Barlow, she had made many friends, but Rachel Wilczewski was one of them who she had close to. Wilczewski has known her since she first started here. They became quick friends since they both loved theater and McBeth was a theater teacher during that time. Wilczewski loved the first production that she made. It wowed her; the set, choreography, and it was for the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “I love her positivity and her spirit,” Wilczewski says. When Wilczewski’s daughter was a senior, they both went with McBeth to the Oregon State Thespian Conference and that is one of Wilczewski’s favorite memories with McBeth. Wilczewski is glad that McBeth will still be in the building.
Even though McBeth is retiring she will still work here at Barlow. They have hired her to be a full-time substitute, so that she will continue to be here every day. McBeth is 62 years old and she wanted to make it to 65 before retiring. Still, with the post-COVID student behavior, it was very challenging for her. She has never felt so much pain and it’s challenging in a way she never experienced. McBeth is a very tender-hearted person, and it’s hard for her to discipline, so she has decided that it’s better for her and her students if they have a teacher that will be able to discipline. “I would like the kids to know that they are cared for and safe here. I would like them to step up, get busy, and get it done,” McBeth tells her students.
McBeth will be retiring this year because it has gotten harder for her to teach with the post-COVID student behavior going on. Still, she has gotten hired by the district as a full-time substitute, and she will be able to see her students again.