Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Curriculum Instruction/Math
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grade 8
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current academic or teaching status:
28 years teaching
School and school district:
Pound Middle School, Lincoln Public Schools
I am originally from North Platte, NE. I received my bachelor’s degree from Doane College and my master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). I have been teaching for 28 years and have been an instructor at Pound Middle School for 8 years. I play a variety of instruments and enjoy reading about U.S. History, crime novels, and sci-fi/fantasy. I garden vegetables and fruits and enjoy bicycling.
Why do you want to teach:
To whom much is given, much is expected! My grandparents, on both sides of the family, believed in service to others. They didn’t have much in material goods or wealth, but were intensely involved in their communities. This is the type of role model I was exposed to when I was young. I went to college with the idea I would go into pre-med or pre-pharmacy and also, through R.O.T.C., to serve a stint in the army. A serendipitous opportunity to substitute teach K-6 P.E. in a parochial school during my sophomore year in college changed my life. That experience showed me that teaching is what I should do. It is what I feel I was meant to do, and I’ve never regretted my decision to become an educator. I want to continue teaching because I get to work with the most energetic, dynamic, creative adults in my community. (They just aren’t adults, yet.) I have the opportunity to positively influence them to become better people than they yet envision. I am rewarded by seeing them rise to the challenge.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Two summers ago, I was asked to substitute for a five-week session at UNL as an adjunct instructor for a middle school level math methods course. I really enjoyed leading this class of future teachers. Many of them were not seeking an endorsement in math; they needed the class as a requirement for graduation. What I tried to impart to them was my philosophy that at the middle school level you don’t just teach subject matter. I believe you teach life skills and the subject matter, whether it be math or family consumer science, that is the vehicle through which you teach those life skills. Three of the college students from the methods course I taught have substituted at Pound Middle School. Two of them were not endorsed in math, but were tapped to substitute in a math classroom. All three told me how much they learned from my five-week course and how I was right when I taught them that it isn’t so much the content as the teaching that is important. Once the students felt comfortable with them as teachers, teaching the math was much easier.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
As a Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellow I would like to share with other teachers some of the lessons I have learned from not only Math in the Middle, but also the lessons I will gain from the Noyce coursework and from the practical applications of those lessons learned in my classrooms. Since Math in the Middle, I have taken a few staff development workshops as well as a class at UNL, but these haven’t come close to approaching the depth of learning that I want. Looking at some of the coursework of the Master Teaching Fellowship, I am certain that that depth will be there. My goal is to continue to reach all students to help them be successful in math. Deeper understanding of my craft is instrumental to reaching that goal.