Teri Beardsley

Teri Beardsley

College of Education

M.Ed. in Elementary Education - Northern Illinois University, IL
B.S. in Speech Pathology - Illinois State University, IL
A.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences - Illinois Valley Community College, IL

About Teri Beardsley

Teri lives in a northwest suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. She instructed special needs populations for 31 years in Illinois and the Phoenix area. She taught in the elementary and junior high settings until retirement. Her passion now is to help special needs adult populations and their parents become fully knowledgeable about the programs and services available post high school. She is currently the coordinator for the West Valley Social and Support Group for young adults on the autistic spectrum. Teri is also on the board of directors for Seeds for Autism, a vocational arts program for young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Teri earned her BS in Speech Pathology from Illinois State University. Her Master's Degree in Education was earned at Northern Illinois University. She also completed coursework to become certified in the areas of learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, intellectually disabled, early childhood special education and elementary education. She also has endorsements in reading, early childhood and SEI.

She began teaching when Public Law 94-142 was in its earliest stages. She has seen the field of education move from separate classroom settings to inclusive environments. She is now truly passionate about sharing her experiences and knowledge gained with university students pursuing careers in the exciting world of teaching.

Teri is kept very busy in her work with her young adults' group and Seeds. In her free time she enjoys travel, cooking, reading and experiencing Phoenix area restaurants that promote local produce and goods. Her 20-year-old son, who has Asperger's, keeps her busy taking him to and from work and programs he is involved with. Her daughter, a graduate architect student, keeps her feeling young and in tune with the latest trends. On weekends, she and her husband enjoy grilling outdoors.

How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?

After retiring from teaching in public schools, I really prayed to God to help me find a way to continue reaching out to the special needs and early childhood populations. I found the answer to my prayers when the opportunity to teach at Grand Canyon was offered to me. I never realized how enjoyable and rewarding sharing my experiences and knowledge with adult students from across the country would be. I am passionate about helping students reach their goals to become future teachers. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me.

What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your classes?

I find asking questions that promote higher level thinking and promote continued discussions are essential to helping the students benefit the most from the class. I will often ask questions that lean towards an opposing point of view so students will respond passionately with their feelings on the topic. This keeps the conversations lively and informative. Students are also more apt to use current research to support their viewpoints when questions are presented this way.

What is a GCU online student success story you can share?

Recently, a student contacted me and was ready to drop the course. She was a paraprofessional and felt very intimidated by the other students and their abundance of experiences and knowledge. She did not feel she had what it takes to become a teacher. I encouraged her to continue and assured her I would support her as the course continued. We all feel insecure when we first start something new. At first her discussion posts and assignments consisted of many quotes and other peoples' thoughts. As the course continued, her work became more her own and she became confident in her ability to share her thoughts and experiences. She showed much growth from the beginning of the course to the end. This student ended the course with an excellent grade and the confidence to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.