Robert W. Combs Elementary
Teaching 29 years
Typically sees about 25 students per week
What made you decide to become an educator?
I have always loved teaching and helping others. Even as a young child I loved "playing school" with my younger sister and cousins. I also love children; so the obvious career choice was teaching.
What excites you most about being an MAF Mathematics Intervention Teacher?
The most exciting part of being a MIT is seeing my students blossom and develop a love for math during intervention and then being able to finally feel successful in the regular math classroom.
What differences have you seen in your students since they began receiving intervention assistance?
The most important difference that I have seen in my students is their new found confidence and love for math!
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?
As regular classroom teachers we feel pressured to get that content covered at an impossible pace, so often times we don’t have the time to allow our students to struggle productively. As a MIT I have learned that one of the most powerful things we can do for our students is to allow for productive struggle [and to explore] because this is truly when learning is taking place.
While working with one of my kindergarten students that was productively struggling for an answer to a question, she looked up at me and sensed that I was about to offer some assistance. She put up her little hand and says, "No, wait. I can do it!" And after a few more moments of wait time - she did! She then said, "See, I am so smart now. I knew I could do it!" This is what teaching is all about. Moments like that make all the work worthwhile!
What does the MAF and the Kentucky Center for Mathematics mean to you?
As a "seasoned" primary teacher of 27 years I thought that I knew everything there was to know about teaching primary math. I was so very wrong! There are so many effective strategies and resources that every primary teacher needs to be made aware of whether she/he is a new or "seasoned" teacher. This opportunity has opened my eyes to a whole new philosophy of teaching math and has refreshed me at a time in my career when I needed it most.
The support that I have received from KCM has been very instrumental in my success as a MIT. Knowing that if I had a question the answer was just an email away was a great relief as a new MIT.
What advice would you give to a colleague or other educator if they had never attended a KCM professional learning experience before?
Say yes! Say yes to the opportunity to learn new and exciting ways to reach your students!