IEI teacher Beth Thomas is a world citizen. She was born in Taebek, South Korea, and raised in Boerne, Texas, where she grew up riding horses before heading to Cedarville University in Ohio to earn her B.A. in international studies. During college, she spent the summer of 2003 teaching English at a youth camp in Germany, and then the summers of 2004 and 2005 teaching in northern Iraq as an intern.
“My first teaching experience was very hands-on and practical,” she says. She loves “being in a global environment where people are different and eager to learn.”
Later, as a graduate student at Columbia International University, Beth taught English in Kazakhstan for several months in 2006.
Since 2007, Beth has called Nashville and IEI home. She particularly enjoys the small classes at IEI that allow her to get to know her students better, letting them “discover one another’s (and perhaps their own) humanity, dignity, spirituality, longings, and strengths”.
Beth’s students know her warm, welcoming personality and love of spontaneous adventures, but she also enjoys recharging alone in the outdoors by hiking, backpacking, camping, gardening, and “connecting with God”. She lives out her passion for community development and justice by volunteering with CASA, a nonprofit agency that advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system. An avid reader, Beth particularly enjoys reading C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lloyd C. Douglas, and Wendell Berry.
Beth has studied American Sign Language, German, Kurdish, Kazakh, and Spanish, so she understands a great deal of what her students at IEI are experiencing when they struggle with English. She is “challenged, inspired, and grateful” to serve her students, and she offers some wise advice to them: