The year after Bethany Welling graduated from GVSU, she was substitute teaching while looking for a regular position when she got a call from Dr. Don VanderJagt, then chair of the math department. Don asked her if she'd consider teaching courses here; Bethany said yes, and she has been teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Grand Valley ever since, now nearly 20 years. She joined us this past fall as an affiliate faculty member and now regularly teaches 4-5 courses a semester.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching for Bethany is watching students make connections and finally "get it" and being part of this process. Her favorite class to teach is Intermediate Algebra (MTH 110). She explains that she loves teaching this course, and since she has taught it since she came to GVSU she knows the course inside and out. Even though the text and other aspects of the course have changed through the years, she knows what topics and ideas students find difficult and can anticipate the types of mistakes they will make; this enables her to present the material to help the students understand it. Bethany especially likes teaching first semester freshman as they transition to college life, but also enjoys the challenges posed by students who delay taking the course because they are a bit more intimidated by the topic.
This past year Bethany resumed her own studies and enrolled in Communicating in Mathematics (MTH 210) in order to gain a student perspective and to challenge herself with problem-solving. Other students in the class didn't know she was also an instructor and so they treated her like a fellow student. Bethany commented that she enjoyed having the opportunity to learn some mathematics and to relate to students in a different way.
In her free time, Bethany enjoys spending time with husband and three children ranging in age from 11 to 17. As an undergraduate, she considered majoring in music but decided against it because she thought that over-studying or too many performances might diminish her enjoyment of the subject. Her passion for singing remains to this day, and she currently sings in her church praise team, as well as in the choir that her husband directs, often enjoying solo parts. Bethany has also had the opportunity to professionally record a solo performance. When she isn't singing or spending time with family, Bethany can be found reading books; she is a voracious reader who loves to read all types of genres, but mostly enjoys a good story that she can lose herself in. Bethany is also a passionate cook; her children are now catching the bug, and she and they can often be found baking together on the weekends.