Good Talk: Ms. Beatty


photo by Ashley Boehmke

Caroline Mura, Reporter

Have you always taught anatomy in your 32 years at NASH, or have you ever taught anything else?

Yeah, I taught a bunch of things. When I started here, we didn’t have Anatomy or AP Bio yet. So I taught Honors Bio II and Applied Science.

Did you like your science classes when you were a student then — was it always a topic of interest?

You know, I had no idea I was going to be a science major. I was kind of a brat in high school, I have to say. In fact, my bio teacher used to throw me out of class all the time. He showed up here at my door a few years ago — Mr. Sieminski was taking him on a tour of NA and I opened the door and he (my old bio teacher) almost had a heart attack. So did I, actually. But I fell in love with it in college, in my freshman bio class. I loved the professor and he encouraged me to keep taking more classes and that’s how I got into it.

What is your favorite topic to teach in your anatomy classes and why?

My favorite is probably the nervous system. I really enjoy teaching the physiology part of it probably more than the anatomy, since it’s just memorization, but the physiology really explains how things work.

Your class is known to be a difficult one when students don’t put in the effort required. Does it ever frustrate you when students aren’t applying themselves as they should be?

Frustrate me? Of course! That’s an understatement. I know what they’re capable of and I know that they can do it better, so I’m kind of old-school and will give them a kick when they need it. Mainly because they don’t know what’s down the road, so I try to prepare them as best I can, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing my job. So I try to give everyone a glimmer of what’s coming and that it won’t get easier.

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what do you think you would do instead?

Teaching was really not on my radar at first. I had plans of becoming a chiropractor and I got my education degree as something to fall back on, but when I student taught I fell in love with it. It just changed my whole plan, so I stuck with it. That was not my original plan, but it worked out. God definitely had his hand on me, because it was my first job out of college too.

You were an athlete in college – what sports did you play?

I was a shot put thrower and discus thrower.

What is your favorite sport to watch now and do you have a favorite team?

Of course, I love football. I watch all the NFL games; probably next I like baseball and hockey. I have Pens season tickets. But football is my love – I don’t care who’s playing, I’ll watch any football game.

Tell me something that no one, or at least none of our readers, know about you.

I did play for the women’s professional football team in Pittsburgh: the Pittsburgh Passion. I tried out at 40 and made the team, but unfortunately I got hurt. Instead I wound up being the general manager of the team for eight years.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I coach private lessons for boys and girls, shot and discus. I do a girls’ camp in the summer called “Throw Like a Girl.” I really love it.  I coached at NA for 14 years and the university level for 13 years, and then I retired. Now I’m back and privately coaching, so that’s taking up most of my free time. But as far as fun stuff goes, I go to a lot of Pens and Steelers games. I golf, too. Of course, you can tell it’s all sports-oriented.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

The turtle ice cream at Bruster’s.

What is your go-to movie and why?

This is going to sound really corny, but my favorite movie is The Sound of Music.

When you retire at the end of the year, what are three places you want to visit?

Well, one I’m going to in August, which is Aruba. My dream trip is to Germany since my mom was born there, so I’d love to go visit the village where she was born and I still actually have some cousins over there as well. I’d love to go to Ireland at some point too, since I have family from there as well.

What are you going to miss most about teaching once you’ve retired?

I’m going to miss the kids. You know, could I stay here longer? The answer is yes. See, you’re going to make me cry, and I’m going to be a blubbering idiot my last day. But I want to go out on a high note, on my terms, still enjoying what I’m doing. That’s honestly not why most people retire — most retire because of all the other stuff that’s kind of meaningless in the scheme of things. But I’ll miss the kids the most.

If you had to give future students one piece of advice from your years as both a student and a teacher, what would it be?

As a student, I would say take advantage of your opportunities. Don’t take the easy way out. Sometimes things may seem challenging as you’re going through it, but if you persevere, you’re going to be better off in the long run. People that take the easy road find out later that life isn’t easy and then they end up struggling. The challenge is there for you – don’t be afraid to step up. As a teacher, enjoy every minute of it. Don’t wish your life away. Gosh, it seems like just yesterday I was back in high school. I still have memories of that and it was probably one of my most favorite times ever. College goes by so quickly, so once again, take advantage of your opportunities and don’t have regrets.