Mrs. Bean: Helping One Dog At A Time

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By Alexa Hall

When sitting in Mrs. Bean’s classes, you can hear her use the ways her mom taught her classes, in the ways Mrs. Bean teaches now. For example, in the imperfect subjunctive tense, Mrs. Bean does a silly cheerleading dance as a way for us to remember the verb endings, which is the same thing her mom did when she taught the imperfect subjunctive. 

Mrs. Bean, also known as Senora Bean, has been a Spanish teacher at East for 20 years. Before the current seniors got to East, she had the special opportunity of teaching alongside her mom, Mrs. Masso, who also used to teach Spanish at East. After 16 years teaching together, Mrs. Bean said it was a really unique opportunity and, “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with her.” Mrs. Masso loved teaching upper level Spanish at East, which is what Mrs. Bean enjoys teaching now. You can see some of Mrs. Masso’s signs around room 202, signs that once were used by Mrs. Masso, now used by Mrs. Bean. Mrs. Bean’s favorite class to teach is 5A because she likes how the curriculum focuses more on culture instead of grammar. She said she does teach a bit of grammar, but she really loves showing authentic Spanish movies that normally they wouldn’t get to in lower levels. 

Before teaching at East, Mrs. Bean taught between Transit, Mill, and South. She first started off traveling between Transit and East, but she is very happy she ended off at East. Mrs. Bean said she really likes East because she appreciates that the students have a high priority on academics, “I really like the students. I like that East is culturally diverse. And being a Spanish teacher and loving culture, I love learning about other cultures.” Mrs. Bean went to Spain for the first time when she was a junior in high school, when she was able to appreciate the culture firsthand. She has been back about 10 times and has been to Mexico about 12 times. When I asked her favorite place she has ever been to, she said it was definitely Madrid; she studied abroad and absolutely loved everything about it. 

Mrs. Bean didn’t always know that she wanted to be a high school Spanish teacher. When she was a senior in high school, she thought at the time that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She had an internship with a local veterinarian, but when she passed out during one of the surgeries, that’s when she realized it was no longer for her. She decided to pursue her love of Spanish and combine it with teaching. Mrs. Bean went to UB and is very happy with her choice of career!

When Mrs. Bean isn’t teaching Spanish, she is spending her time with 716 Paws, helping rescue dogs by giving them a second chance for a good life. 716 Paws is a volunteer-based animal rescue group that helps dogs from the south find their forever homes and start a new, better life. Mrs. Bean fosters one or two dogs every month. She has each dog for anywhere between 5-15 days, depending on each dog’s age and needs. Mrs. Bean is on the leadership board for 716 Paws with 4 other women. She is in charge of various responsibility roles from volunteering, fundraising, or making phone calls, as well as training other people to do applications for dogs and house calls. Mrs. Bean said, “I’m really proud to put my teaching to use.” She loves being part of such an amazing organization that reduces the rate of dogs being euthanized in America. Anyone can tell how much she loves doing this, “I do it because it feels really good. I had no idea how much I’d love it and how fulfilling it is to have a dog that is shut down and scared to see them become a dog or puppy. It brings so much joy to me I don’t even know how to explain it. It fills my heart with happiness. Each and every dog that I have holds a special place in my heart. Every time I adopt one out, I cry.”

Mrs. Bean started with the rescue two years ago when it first started, and it now has 162 members. Mrs. Bean has personally saved 46 dogs, and collectively, 716 Paws has saved 582 dogs. While the rescue mainly helps with dogs, they have teamed up with local rescues to bring cats and kittens up from the south when there are transports they are helping with. 

Mrs. Bean’s own pets always enjoy it when they have a new furry friend to share their house with. Mrs. Bean has twodogs, Buttercup who is 4 and Ceecee who is 7, and a cat Buster, who is 14. Buttercup particularly loves becoming friends with the new fosters who share her home. You can follow Buttercup’s adventures with the new foster dogs on her Instagram @buttercupthecav. Mrs. Bean loves sharing Buttercup’s stories on her Instagram, whether it is with pictures of a new foster or just Buttercup enjoying a sunny day outside. She also frequently posts the captions in English and Spanish, as a way to integrate the Spanish with the dog part of her life.

This summer, Mrs. Bean is looking forward to continuing saving dogs and getting word out about the rescue, as well as getting more people to join the organization so they are able to save more dogs.