Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Education and Human Sciences
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 7-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current academic or teaching status:
3 years teaching
School and school district:
Grand Island Senior High, Grand Island Public Schools
My hometown is in Palmer, NE. I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I’m in my 3rd year of teaching at Grand Island Senior High. I enjoy sports, scrap-booking, and reading.
Why do you want to teach:
I never wanted to be a teacher, but I knew I wanted to change the world. Growing up, there was a long list of potential careers I wanted to pursue: marine biology, searching for extra-terrestrials for the SETI program, and even a CIA spy. When I started my undergraduate career, teaching was still not on my mind. I was studying biology with hopes of becoming a pediatrician. During my freshman year, however, a constant voice in my head kept telling me I was not doing what I was meant to do. Teaching entered the picture, and I have not looked back since. I love working with students. The relationships I develop with them and the opportunities I have to help them reach their goals is by far the most rewarding aspect of teaching. As a result, I do not want to leave the classroom, however, I would like to take my skills to a different level. I am a firm believer in the importance of knowing the mathematics before you can teach it, but too many undergraduate secondary education programs are focused on content and educational theories and not enough on practice or how to interact with kids. I wish I had been given more opportunities to work with students and had been challenged to think about how students learn mathematics. I have also seen too many student teachers who do not know how to talk to students or never actually enter the teaching profession. Someday, I want to be a teacher of future teachers, in hopes of impacting even more students and their success in a mathematics classroom.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
I teach geometry to approximately 100 average and below-average learners. I have two courses that are designed for juniors and seniors in geometry who are behind grade level. Many of these students are finding success in a math classroom for the first time. I can say without hesitation these are my favorite classes to teach. They are the most challenging, but by far the most rewarding. I had one student recently come to me crying because she received a 100% on a quiz we took, and it was the first 100% she had ever gotten on a math assessment. It took many lunch periods and after-school hours to get this student where she needed to be, but the tears in her eyes gave me all the reasons I need to teach these types of classes.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship will allow me to participate in professional development experiences that most math teachers only dream about. The skills I will learn and the relationships I make will allow me to not only be an educational leader within my school district, but also the state of Nebraska for years to come. The Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship would not only enable me to begin this process, but it would put me in an environment with like-minded peers and accomplished professors where my opinions and strategies are discussed, scrutinized and challenged.