Bearing Good News: Kathryn Beary joins the English department

From growing up in Sonoma County to taking astronomy courses and phonology abroad in France, Kathryn Beary has embarked on her fair share of exploring and is here to share new food recipes and plants with her students as a new middle school English teacher.

“I was born an hour north of San Francisco,” Beary said. “I’ve lived the most in a suburb where everything is organized and there aren’t many restaurants or things to see.”

Coming to live in San Jose for the first time for her teaching position, she was shocked to see so many different restaurants and attractions to keep her busy. She currently consults her students for recommendations on places to visit around the city.

Beary thought about several different career paths since she was a child and finally made up her mind in middle school.

“I bounced back and forth and actually wanted to be a dentist when I was little,” Beary said. “But around seventh grade, I decided I wanted to be an English teacher since I really liked the class I was in.”

Beary was always engaged in her academics and had a chance to find her social group as she was earning her degree in literature with a minor in education throughout college at UC Santa Cruz. She connected with people who understood her and participated in several college programs, one being a multicultural theater group. Beary earned her preliminary teaching credential from Sacramento State University.

Beary had been practicing her French for more than four years before she left for school in France. During her time in Bordeaux, she studied different levels of French writing and listening as well as astronomy and phonology. Beary had two other housemates and a host family and visited several other countries including Belgium, Berlin, Germany and the Czech Republic.

English teacher Kathryn Beary poses in front of famous painting “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich in Vienna during her time abroad in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kathryn Beary.)

“I had an Iranian housemate and a housemate from Mexico where we got to share each others’ culture and experience the country together,” Beary said.

Beary took pictures in front of famous paintings in Vienna like the “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Caspar David Friedrich.

Other hobbies Beary developed and shared with her Bordeaux housemates include baking, cooking and gardening. 

“I’ve already had some students send me recipes to try at home,” Beary said. “My favorite dishes to make are the kinds where you get to mix everything in a pot.”

Currently, her favorite dish to make is a Hungarian mushroom soup, and she wants to learn more recipes. Throughout her time abroad, she was able to make dishes for her housemates, one of which was the famous Thanksgiving dish yam casserole with marshmallows. 

Besides baking and cooking, gardening is a hobby she enjoys because it is not stressful, nor does it take up a lot of time and energy throughout her day. Beary has a few plants in her classroom already such as a nerve plant and wants her students to give them thoughtful names. She has a fern named Fernando and is a huge fan of using alliteration and puns while naming her plants.

“If you can’t have a pet, at least you can have a plant,” Beary said.

When she is not gardening, baking or cooking, Beary finds other things to keep her busy, like watching TV.

“I love watching TV shows like ‘The Office,’ ‘Brooklyn 99’ and ‘The Good Place,’” Beary said. “Lots of sitcoms, but definitely not ‘Friends.’”

Beary was very adamant about her opinion on “Friends,” but she plays shows like “The Office” and several others on a loop at home. She has nothing against “Friends” fans, but she never got into it. She leaned more towards the humorous shows that do not need laugh tracks throughout each episode, as she believes laugh tracks are compensating for the shows that are not actually funny. 

Beary is excited to teach about different books and content to students that are meaningful and relevant, as she wants to provide them with a sense that they can thrive on any path they choose after middle school. Beary is currently teaching seventh and eighth grade English.

“I want to inspire overall confidence in students and increase their confidence in reading and writing,” Beary said. “I hope to develop meaningful relationships with my students and foster a community where they feel welcomed and proud to be members.”