About Beret


  • the beach
  • the Oxford comma
  • snail mail
  • other great stuff


  • talking on the telephone
  • parking
  • sciatica

Neither a morning person nor a night owl, I can be surprisingly productive between 10 and 2. I am awake for many, many other hours, though–sometimes on purpose.

Additional fun facts:

After graduating from Carleton College with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology, I joined Teach for America, continuing to teach and administrate in urban public schools for twelve years. For my first mid-life crisis, I went on leave to study photography at California College of the Arts. I am currently raising two daughters, writing two blogs, teaching and photographing whenever possible.


18 thoughts on “About Beret”

  1. Hi Beret, just read your Freshly Pressed post (which I loved – sums up the chaotic home of large families perfectly) and now have read that you were on the Teach for America programme – I’m starting the Teach First scheme here in England this summer! Any tips would be greatly appreciated, I’m expecting a tough year… Did you enjoy the experience? Lizzie


    1. Love, love, loved it! The best two pieces of advice I got were: a) always have an extra chalk in your pocket (or a dry erase marker), and b) DO NOT EVEN ASK YOURSELF IF YOU LIKE IT for six months. At least! It was a tough job, and all I ever said to my roommates the first semester was “I’m tired,” and “I’m starving.” But once I got into the swing of things, and once I understood what resources were out there and how to access the support I needed, THOSE KIDS CHANGED MY LIFE. I am so excited for you. Yay! I have started a book about it, with a few tiny excerpts on my website: http://www.beretolsen.com. Also, if you ever have specific questions or concerns, feel free to email me: bolsen@cca.edu. Good luck!


    1. Ahhhh. Well, I wouldn’t say I have left for good! I went on leave to go to art school, then had a couple of kids (which meant it took eight years to get my degree). I volunteer regularly in their classrooms, teach photography when I can, and write for an ed blog, but since my husband travels quite a bit, I can’t really dive into a full time gig. In the meantime, No Child Left Behind sort of sullied teaching for me. I got extremely frustrated that the focus turned from teaching children to teaching skills. You can read my manifesto on the educational blog I write for, LobeStir: http://lobestir.com/about/berets-manifesto/.


  2. Thanks for the link. I will definitely check it out. I retired from teaching in 2010 after 33 years in the classroom…I understand about the No Child Left Behind feeling. Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂


  3. Haha, I stumbled across your blog on the WordPress website. Your stories are funny and your story titles, even funnier! Keep up the good work!


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