Bonnie Belshe: her departments newest lead

Kinglsey Wang

Bonnie Belshe
Bonnie Belshe
With the departure of former MVHS social science department lead Andrew Sturgill, there were 11 other teachers to choose from. In a less-publicized move that never was publicized, US History teacher Bonnie Belshe assumed the job. Belshe has been involved in the leadership team for the past five or six years, aiding numerous other department heads and teachers alike. Assuming the job came as a natural step.

he lead appointed does much of the behind the scenes or administrative tasks that many students simply don’t notice. Specifically, department leads order books, lead the meeting every Wednesday morning and collaborate with other leads from different schools throughout the district.

One of the many history books Belshe has to buy and label as a department lead.
One of the many history books Belshe has to buy and label as a department lead.

With these new responsibilities department leads have to change their normal routines, leads of all department teach one less class to accommodate for the extra administrative work. This change according to Belshe is welcomed, since it gives the individual more time to plan, grade, and do all the behind the scenes aspects of teaching. Belshe herself claimed giving up a class period was difficult, since she enjoyed teaching such a degree.

El Estoque: When you first became a teacher, did you ever think about becoming the social science department lead?
Bonnie Belshe:Yeah I had thought about it. Certainly. I had always been involved in the leadership team which works with department leads and other teachers on campus. I have helped with that for 5-6 years now so this was just a natural step with that.”

EE: How do your responsibilities compare before as a teacher and after as a department lead?”

Belshe: For our department we have always been very collaborative and working together. A lot of that hasn’t changed in terms of helping teachers who need resources, have questions and creating the schedule. There is a little bit more of the administrative sidepiece of ordering books, labeling them and checking in with new teachers and finding out what they need. What’s nice is that I have a little bit more time to help with that since I teach one fewer class now.”

EE: Which position would you say you enjoy more, department lead or your previous position as a teacher and advisor?

Belshe:“It’s nice that department lead has the extra release period so that there is more time I have available to be there for the other teachers in the department. The flip side of that though is I had to give up teaching a class and that is very hard for me. So having one fewer classes is a give and take for me.”

EE:What happens when you communicate with leads from other departments?

Belshe:“Every month, the department leads from all of the schools from a department would meet. For social studies for example, we would talk about what research looks like across the schools, what students projects are and the what the expectations of analysis are. Sometimes it is even looking at what books are we using or going to have.