Joe Held Joe Held '13

From the Suburbs, to the Suburbs

Through Bethel’s education program, Joe Held gets ready to teach suburban middle schoolers.


Joe Held didn’t want Bethel—it was too close to home and too many of his high school classmates from suburban White Bear Lake, Minn., were going there. “I didn’t want college to be high school part 2,” he says. “I wanted to get out and spread my wings.”

But a week before needing to make his decision, Joe woke up with a change of heart. “I thought, ‘you know, I think Bethel would be pretty sweet.’ I had no good reason for suddenly changing my mind,” he explains. After praying for confirmation from God, Joe learned his financial aid package through Bethel was far above those of other schools he was considering. Bethel was his final decision.

But that decision didn’t come without some hesitation. “I expected a more uptight, Bible-thumping school, but was so surprised by how real and normal people are. I know ‘real’ is cliché, but it’s true.”

He also initially resisted joining the band, assuming Bethel’s band crowd would make him feel like he was back in high school band. Nevertheless, with a music scholarship, he committed. “I went on a tour with the band, and I fell in love with the nicest and most welcoming people.”

Taking the step to begin new things at Bethel has paid off.

“Here people realize the importance of your relationship with others. And I think that’s something I’m growing so much in is my ability to work with others, to care for others, to receive being cared for by others. I love it here.“

Now, he’s learning how to translate his relationship skills into his work preparing to be a middle school teacher

“I grew up with a lot of kids who didn’t have fathers. And I realized that it was really an issue for them during their middle school years. So that’s my mission statement—to be that positive male role model for those young men.”

He believes Bethel’s education program is equipping him to do just that. Already having 4 practicums before stepping into his junior year, he’s spent time testing out various classrooms—Tiza, a Middle-Eastern charter school, The Hmong Academy, and Harding High School.

His experience in different classrooms through Bethel’s program has helped Joe discover the kind of setting where he’ll thrive—suburban public schools, where he came from.

“I like the vision of education at Bethel. It’s to get involved in teaching because the best experience you can have is experience. I really feel that when I graduate I will be so equipped and ready to teach.”