Beth Neely ’05 – Reinhardt’s Impact Spans the Globe
“Looking back, I can see that Reinhardt was guiding me down this path. I cannot imagine being here now if it wasn’t for my time at Reinhardt.”
After graduating from Reinhardt with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in 2005, Elizabeth “Beth” Neely taught elementary school for two years and then earned a Master’s in Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language in May 2009 from Georgia State University.
She’ll spend this year teaching English at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and is eager to explore another culture and become fluent in a second language. “I know almost no Chinese and am not very familiar with the Chinese culture, but to me, these were the very reasons to go to China,” she said.
When asked what Reinhardt experiences will influence her this year, she said, “The attention that I received from Reinhardt professors inspired me to be that kind of teacher myself. Also, since Reinhardt is such a small school, I was able to become very close friends with several international students who inspired me to pursue this dream. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will direct your paths.’ Looking back, I can see that Reinhardt was guiding me down this path. I cannot imagine being here now if it wasn’t for my time at Reinhardt.”
As a foreign language instructor, she will teach academic listening to students taking intensive English classes to prepare for university study in England. She will also teach listening and speaking to English majors.
She will design the course syllabi and curriculum, assess learning and assign grades. “I may also be called upon to judge English ‘contests’… or grade English exams for placement into certain programs.” She is also hoping to incorporate some of what she researched for her master’s thesis — the teaching of lexical bundles for listening comprehension.
Neely expects new and exciting teaching experiences. “I hear that in the Chinese culture, teachers are often viewed as the authority, and students are required to listen, listen, listen and not speak unless they are entirely sure of an answer. This is very different than… in the States where student discussion is a positive thing, and silence is not necessarily positive.”
So where will Reinhardt take you? Neely remembers being asked that by a freshman orientation speaker who then described several Reinhardt alumni who had gone on to greater things. “I remembered being inspired by that. Truly, your college experience is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m glad I spent mine at Reinhardt,” she said.