Getting to know Bonnie Betzinger
What is your title at Bay College?
Where are you from?
What school(s) did you attend?
I attended Northern Michigan University and graduated with a B.S. in Secondary Education English and then earned a M.A. in Pedagogy and Creative Writing.
Previous to teaching at Bay what did you do?
I taught high school English in Wisconsin for two years, and then returned to NMU to pursue a Master’s degree and serve as a Teaching Assistant with the English Department.
How long have you been an instructor at Bay?
I have taught at Bay from 2009-2014 and 2017-Present.
What made you choose to become a teacher? What is your favorite part about teaching? Why?
My desire to teach is directly tied to my desire to help others achieve their goals. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to help others and enjoyed service. Teaching gave me the opportunity to continue to learn and develop while I helped others find their passion(s) in life.
Can you tell me a story about a time you impacted or made a difference in a student’s future?
Years ago, a student in one of my freshman English classes came in as a probationary student who had been out of school for several years. She was returning as a single-mother and had little to no confidence in her abilities. She worked tirelessly, coming in to my office for additional help and seeking help from free tutoring services on campus. I always told her that I would invest in her if she invested in the learning process. She ended up doing well in the course, and four years later, she graduated with high honors. I received a letter from her prior to graduation. She thanked me for having confidence in her when she had no confidence in herself, and she noted that my class gave her the building blocks to succeed in every other college course because I taught her about study skills, time-management, and self-discipline. There is no greater reward for an educator than to see one of your students "succeed" based on his/her standards for him/herself. I would take a million stressful teaching days if it meant one of my students left my classroom with more confidence in his/her abilities.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
It's just a bad day, not a bad life. If you quit now, how will you ever know just how far you could have gone?
What is your favorite restaurant and meal?
My favorite meal is Salmon New Orleans from Red Lobster.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lawyer because my family and friends always commented on my bossiness and desire to lead (or be in charge of everything). They used to joke that this would be the perfect profession for me, and I believed it. However, in college, I started off majoring in law and hated the first few classes that I took. I didn't see the connection between my personal goals and the curriculum. I focused on how I wanted to serve the community, and law just wasn't a good fit. My sophomore year, I took an education course and immediately fell in love. I changed my major and the rest is history.
What is your favorite thing to do during spring break?
By the time Spring Break comes around, my sons are usually finishing their hockey seasons. Some years, this means I spend my time traveling to their last District tournament. If hockey is already over, I usually focus on doing things they enjoy outside of the rink. For my older son that means treating him to a movie and dinner or taking him on the slopes for the day. For my youngest, we often frequent the YMCA pool or go on ice cream dates. Because my Spring Break is not at the same time as their Spring Break, we try to do little things that we all enjoy together.