Teaching 21 years
Typically sees about 20 students per week
What made you decide to become an educator?
I started out in Dietetics and had to work in a classroom teaching nutrition. I realized very quickly that I was in the wrong profession. I love the energy of the classroom and seeing kids involved in learning and the pride they have when they are encouraged and are successful. I receive so much satisfaction from being a part of children's learning.
What excites you most about being an MAF Mathematics Intervention Teacher?
Last year, 2015-2016, was my training year in Math Recovery and everything was exciting. But, what I enjoy the most is the depth of analysis MITs do for each student and the professional in-depth discussions that we have during our collegial meetings and WebEx online meetings. I truly love reviewing student videos and analyzing student work. I love the "hunt" of finding a student's "cutting edge" and that one strategy that will move the student forward. I get so excited for the student when they realize that they have got it and their confidence soars.
What differences have you seen in your students since they began receiving intervention assistance?
The greatest difference that I have seen in my math students is more confidence, risk taking and perseverance. They discuss their mathematical thinking with confidence and are not discouraged as easily when challenged.
What is one, favorite story or “a-ha!” moment you’ve had with one (or more) of your intervention students? Why is this your favorite?
I had a second semester Math Recovery student that was not moving past structures of 5 and she was on her 15th lesson. I was very concerned and she was getting frustrated. By watching her videos, analyzing her work, digging into the “green book” and discussions during WebEx meetings, I realized her lack of understanding patterns was the issue. I really had to study this student and what motivated her. It was my responsibility to find her ZPD. Once her "cutting edge" was determined she made rapid progress and was able to discontinue early. She is a success story for the constructivist perspective that Math Recovery adheres to. This was an important a-ah moment because it reiterated the upmost importance of intense teacher observation, applying professional judgement, individual student planning and micro-adjusting during the lesson.
What does the MAF and the Kentucky Center for Mathematics mean to you?
The MAF provides schools with the opportunity to train teachers in mathematics and provide struggling math student the opportunity to receive intense intervention from a highly-qualified educator. The focus that the MAF puts on best practice in teaching mathematics not only impacts students in Math Recovery and intervention groups but also classroom instruction in mathematics due to the MIT's role within the school.
The KCM website is user friendly and the staff has always been professional and friendly. When I have had to contact a staff member they have been prompt in getting back to me. The updates from KCM are helpful to make sure everything is completed and turned in. The KCM conference and trainings have encouraged me to be a professional learner and challenged me to improve my decision making in order to enhance my students' learning. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be a MAF Mathematics Intervention Teacher.
What advice would you give to a colleague or other educator if they had never attended a KCM professional learning experience before?
I highly recommend teachers attend the KCM Conference and any training provided by KCM. I have gained deeper understanding of mathematics pedagogy and the practical implementation of new understanding with every conference or training I have attended. You get out of any professional leaning opportunity what you put into it. I come back to my school excited, energized and motivated, which is extremely beneficial for my students.
What activities, organizations, hobbies, etc. do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy gardening and traveling the United States National Park system with my family. I also enjoy reading historical fiction, refinishing furniture and singing in a choir.
What is your favorite pizza topping?
Black olives and banana peppers.
What was your favorite childhood television show?
Got any good or favorite math jokes?