Change Someone’s Math…Care

Please don’t give up on the student that is “too far behind”, even if they are a senior in high school.  You may not even know it, and the student definitely won’t know it, but it is possible to change their life.

I grew up in a small town with very average schools.  Few graduates went on to 4-year colleges, far fewer graduated.  I was an advanced student and in the “honors track”, however, I had miserable middle school math experiences.  I had terrible teachers, I sat in the back, I tuned out.  They let me.  I scraped by.  I was quiet, so they were happy.  They didn’t care.

In high school I switched from regular Alg II to Honors Alg II because the honors teacher didn’t check homework, ever.  This teacher also taught my older brother, whom she loved.  I got to run all of the class errands.  On test days, she would walk over to my desk and point out the answers of the multiple choice tests.  She didn’t care.

I landed in Pre-Calculus junior year.  I was beyond lost.  I wanted to drop.  My teacher wouldn’t let me.  For the first time, my math teacher cared.   In this school system, many of her students had been through all of these average math teachers.  Enter mathematics basic boot camp.  She started us out with algebra.  She then moved us through geometry.  By Christmas we had finally made it t0 pre-calculus.  We worked hard.  I now know that she worked harder than any of us.

My senior year she taught calculus, so I took it.  It was the only class I had to work at that year.  At the end of the year, I made an A on the University of Kentucky’s calculus final exam.

She didn’t give up on me because I was “too far behind” or because “it was too late”.  She changed the course of my life.  I graduated college summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics.  I received a full graduate fellowship to Wake Forest University in mathematics.  I was able to choose the mathematics path because ONE teacher cared.

She is why I became a teacher.  She will forever be my inspiration.  I may not ever be as gifted of a teacher as she is.  However, I can care as much for my students as she cared for me.  Hopefully, I can improve someone’s life as she improved mine.

Thank you Mrs. Miracle, for being a perfect model of how to care, and for changing my life because of it.

Thanks to all of the teachers out there that work with students that everyone else has given up on because they are “too far behind” or because it is “too late”.   It’s not always fun, and it is never easy, but it is always worth it.

2 thoughts on “Change Someone’s Math…Care

  1. Pingback: Dispelling the Great Math Myth: Effort Trumps Ability in Mathematics Achievement « I Speak Math

  2. This is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. There are too many teachers out there who don’t realize they truly help to shape the lives and future of their students. This is a good reminder.

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