Dr. Mary Beth Pollema
Associate Professor of Education
It has been my joy and privilege to have spent the majority of my career in education. I sensed from my childhood the calling to become a teacher and so pursued a BA at Dordt from 1987 to 1991 majoring in Elementary Education and Spanish. This degree opened the doors for me to serve as an elementary classroom teacher for five years first in southwest Minnesota and then in Belize, Central America. Especially during our years in Belize, I was able to refine my Spanish proficiency and cultural sensitivity.
I am the mother of three wonderful teenagers and am a pastor’s wife. While my husband, Bob, was in seminary and our children were young I stayed at home with them. When they were all in elementary school, I joyfully accepted a teaching contract from Central Minnesota Christian School and taught secondary Spanish and English for six years while also working on my Masters of Education at Dordt. When my M.Ed was completed in 2014, I began teaching at Dordt College.
Teaching for me is not merely a job—it’s a calling. It is a task I was specifically created to engage in that aligns with my interests, abilities and passions. I see my role as a teacher as that of a guide for my students and my primary goal for teaching is to equip my students to make a positive impact on culture, specifically to become teachers that will truly make a difference in the lives of their students by guiding them to become followers of Christ.
A second goal is to help prepare my students to recognize and address the diverse learning needs of the 21st century classroom. The demographics of our nation’s schools are changing and, therefore, I strive to equip my students with knowledge of the many ways that our classrooms reflect diversity particularly in regard to inclusion and immigration and provide them with research-based strategies and pedagogies for reaching all students.
My third goal is to pass on a passion for teaching and learning to my college students. I can’t think of a more exciting profession of which to be a part. While there are multiple challenges in education, nothing can diminish the reward of those “light-bulb” moments or the life transformation that happens when God’s truth is unfolded and the confidence that accompanies progress whether great or small.
I am also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education at the University of Nebraska with an emphasis in Literacy, Languages and Culture because I desire to become more equipped to address the specific learning needs of students from other cultures and language groups and to train my students to be able to effectively address this type of diversity.