Lancer Spotlight: From croquet to #1 band fan, Ericsson brings her joy to the classroom

In+her+trademark+tie+dyed+outfits%2C+Ericsson+tackles+life+with+enthusiasm.

Graphic by Caroline Hobson

In her trademark tie dyed outfits, Ericsson tackles life with enthusiasm.

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How do you manage being the tournament director for Capital Croquet, African American Culture Club advisor and teaching biology all while staying virtual? No idea, ask superstar teacher Beth Ericsson. 

From the Biology classroom to the Croquet court

Mrs. Ericsson has been playing croquet with friends and family for a long time. She even had a group of college friends who played on a team for fun.

Mrs. Ericsson sparked a serious passion for playing croquet in 1997. Her future husband took her to a croquet tournament as their first real date and she immediately fell in love with the tournament lifestyle. 

She has won many tournaments and even has a trophy case in her front hallway, with all of her  and her husband’s croquet trophies, ribbons, and medals.

“My husband plays croquet and has way more trophies than I do. If I’m playing, he’s usually playing, too,” said Ericsson. 

Ericsson plays for the Capitol Croquet Club, where she has loads of croquet friends and supporters.

“I am the tournament director for my croquet club, and I run the largest single day tournament in North America, with the help of some friends.  I have been running the tournament since 2002,” said Ericsson. 

The pandemic, of course, stopped their most recent tournament from happening. Her club has missed the Mays Capital Croquet Tournament and the 20th Annual Croquet Ball.

“I really like croquet because anyone can do it.  If it were not for the pandemic, this past May’s Capitol Croquet Tournament and Family Outing would have been the 45th annual tournament,” said Ericsson.

Ericsson explained that the annual Croquet Ball is their club’s way of throwing a fancy party. She described it as the club’s annual prom, people dress up, there is live music, and it is a light-hearted  atmosphere.

Academic and school life

Ericsson’s academic life started at an all-girl’s Catholic school in Washington, D.C. She often tells her AP Biology class funny stories about the school and her childhood memories. 

She then continued on Tulane University for her undergrad, then to Georgetown University for graduate school.

Ericsson started her first year of teaching in 1998, and joined LHS January of 2004. 

Ericsson has always wanted to have a career in science but never really knew exactly what. 

In graduate school while working on a PhD, one of her jobs was to act as a teaching assistant to medical students in the lab portions of both Cell Biology and Neurobiology.  

“I loved it.  I loved when the students made sense of what they were seeing.  That’s when I realized that I wanted to be a teacher… I don’t feel shy in the classroom.  I eventually left grad school with a masters degree and started teaching. I have never looked back. Teaching is my calling.” 

Ericsson is an avid reader who prefers reading as her main source of entertainment. She is always up for a good book and often asks her AP Bio class for recommendations on any good reads. 

Reading is my escape.  I don’t watch much TV–I prefer to imagine characters in my head”

— Beth Ericsson

The Gamache Books by Louise Penny are some of her favorites-murder mysteries that are filled with great joy and a full range of emotions.  She also loves the Maisie Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear. She recommends, when looking for new books, check on the New York Times Bestsellers list. 

I am thankful that I am trusted by my students.  I am glad to be there for them.  I feel my students are there for me as well.  They have always been, and continue to be in these crazy times, why I get out of bed each day.  With no children of my own, I put my full heart into my students.  My students are my own kids,” said Ericsson.

Staying engaged while tackling virtual boundaries

Staying engaged with student life while in quarantine has been a struggle for Ericsson. Luckily, as the advisor for the African American Culture Club, the students in the club gives her hope for the future. 

Senior Maya Apau is president of the African American Culture Club (AACC) and works with Ericsson provides education and fun meetings every Friday. Ericsson’s classroom is a known safe space for students both in-person and virtually. 

“Mrs. Ericsson is literally one of my favorite teachers. My freshman year when I walked into AACC, I felt safe automatically. Mrs. E is always encouraging me and the older leaders, as well as other students, to speak up and enter into contests and scholarships,” said Apau. 

Mrs. Ericsson tries to inspire students in AACC to speak up about issues at Linganore. She is an ally who cares about the safety and comfort of all students both in and out of the school building.

“Last year, Mrs. Ericsson rallied a group of leaders from AACC to create a presentation to show the staff of LHS. She gave us the confidence to speak up about issues we’ve encountered at LHS and what teachers can do to help,” said Apau.

Apau shared, “She is most definitely supporting and always ready to listen to others. She is by far one of the most inclusive and encouraging teachers at Linganore. She’s become a mother to AACC in a sense!” 

Ericsson is a teacher who puts in great amounts of effort to see her students succeed. She always has tutoring time available, responds to emails quickly, and will always answer questions with outstanding answers.

She finds the one to one tutoring time extremely valuable during virtual school. Her many biology students that are learning the  curriculum virtually find that time helpful. 

“I enjoy tutoring students both in small groups and on a one on one basis.  It’s fun to talk with students in those situations as they’re more casual than class.  Even in class, I love just having conversations sometimes. “ said Ericsson. 

Time spent dancing and laughing with family

Mrs. Ericsson loves a good laugh, she always tries to crack jokes or tell funny stories to lighten the mood in a classroom. She shared that she finds laughter and lighthearted spirits to be the best traits in people.

“I fell in love with my husband because he made me laugh,” said Ericsson.

Mrs. Ericsson and her family on her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. (photo courtesy of Beth Ericsson)

She learned to have a fantastic sense of humor with her large family of five children. Her childhood in a large family influences her “can do” attitude that she shares with students. 

Ericsson grew up in awe of her Mother for her incredible work ethic, generosity, and management skills–she worked three jobs during the recession of the 70s. Her father worked out of their home, and was the more “mellow” of the two parents. 

“My parents taught me about faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.  They taught me the Golden Rule. They taught me that actions speak louder than words, that honesty is the best policy. These lessons underlie everything I am and everything I do,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson’s life is filled with both lots of quiet book reading and lots of music, laughter, and dancing. 

Her husband is part of a band called  Zydeco Jed. They are a local group of five friends who (before the pandemic) would perform regularly. 

Beth Ericsson posing in front of her Husbands’s band at National Park, on Grateful Dead Night. (courtesy of Beth Ericsson).

Their music is the kind that would make anyone get out of their seat and want to dance, especially Mrs. Ericsson. 

She shared that she loves to see her husband perform. She goes to every one of his shows and is always in the crowd dancing the night away. 

Both Ericsson and her husband are huge Grateful Dead Fans. They loved seeing the band live years ago, and still consider themselves to be huge deadheads! In many of her husband’s performances, you often can spot them both wearing Grateful Dead merchandise. 

Ericsson loves all things tie dyed and has an ever-growing collection. Students often enter a Google Meet to find her dressed in one of her fun tie dyed shirts and her newest earring purchase from Etsy. 

Mrs. Ericsson is not only a fantastic croquet player but an inspiring teacher. She fills the room with excitement from her wild stories and always is so cheerful with her classes.