Ms. Jamie Bechina, an English teacher and girls track coach here at Oswego High School, has undoubtedly made a great impact on the Panther community from her work with English students to athletes.
Before Bechina began working at OHS in 2004, she received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Women’s Studies from Augustana College and a Masters in Secondary Education from Lewis University.
She has taught a wide range of English classes, including English 1, Pre-AP English 1, English 3, AP English 3, Contemporary Literature, and British Literature. Currently, Bechina is teaching English 1, Pre-AP English 1, and AP English 3.
Bechina did not know that she wanted to be a teacher until after she graduated college, taking time to travel. Once she took on a position as a track coach, she saw that working with students was the right path for her.
“I really can’t see myself doing anything else or being anywhere else. is a good fit,” Bechina says.
Bechina has only taught at OHS and plans to stay here long into the future.
“We have a really nice family community in our English department, something that I don’t know I could get somewhere else, so I really love my coworkers,” Bechina says.
English department chair Dr. Amy Howerton met Ms. Bechina over a decade ago, where she was impressed with her as a person right away.
“ she was incredibly kind, hardworking, and… incredibly talented,” says Howerton.
One of Bechina’s favorite parts of teaching is that it allows her to grow through her experiences with students.
“My favorite part of teaching is working with different students and learning from them, hopefully as much as they learn from me,” Bechina says.
Her students attest to this, as sophomore Isabel Thacker spoke highly of the quality of Bechina’s AP Language and Composition course.
“I actually think that this is the class that I’ve learned the most from,” Thacker says.
Bechina recognized these connections in seeing a student persevere as a rewarding aspect of teaching.
“I relish the times when I see a student who is struggling and can overcome something, and maybe I’ve played a small part in that,” Bechina says.
Additionally, Bechina truly works to set each individual student up for success in the classroom.
“She gives you the tools that you need to succeed,” Thacker says.
Like every other human being, Bechina faces challenges in maintaining her busy lifestyle.
“[My biggest struggle is] balancing my life as a mother and my life as a teacher. Balancing the different roles and responsibilities can definitely be a struggle,” Bechina says. “I want to be a good mom and a good partner, but I also want to be a top-notch teacher.”
Even though Bechina has so much on her plate, she appears to handle it all with ease.
“Because she’s so talented, she tends to be pretty self-sufficient,” Howerton says.
This is evident in her balancing her family, teaching, and coaching girls track.
As head coach of the girl’s track team, Bechina becomes more than just a teacher for some.
“I’m like the tough mother. I like to hold everybody to high standards, push them, be a good role model for them, and lead them in the right direction,” Bechina says.
This is probably a highly contributing factor of their back to back conference championships the past two seasons.
In the big picture, Bechina hopes to have an impact far beyond teaching English. She has made it clear that she wants others to maintain a positive attitude throughout life—whether it be for her coworkers, students, or track team. Ms. Bechina is the true definition of a Panther.