Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences: Human Development and the Family major, with endorsements in both Early Childhoo
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: K-2 Mathematics
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Master Teaching Fellowship
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Lincoln Public Schools District Office; Lincoln Public Schools
I grew up in a small town in northeastern Nebraska with a population less than 3,000. Lincoln became my home when I began classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Following graduation, became a teacher for Lincoln Public Schools. I taught first and second grades and served as a half-time math interventionist. During this time I obtained my Masters degree in Educational Administration. Upon leaving the classroom, I became the K-2 Mathematics Coordinator for the district. In this role, I serve kindergarten, first and second grade teachers in 38 elementary building by providing support in terms of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. I have been fortunate to be both a participant and instructor of PrimarilyMath, a subset of the NebraskaMATH NSF grant. It is my goal to continue my professional learning journey, with a focus on mathematics and teacher education.
Why do you want to teach:
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. At a very early age, I “played” school with the younger members of my family–I always got to be the teacher as I was the oldest! I taught swimming lessons, worked at a daycare and was employed by summer recreation programs. Every job I had involved children and teaching. When registering for classes my freshman year at UNL, I decided to declare my major as “undecided” to explore the number of different options the university had to offer. My heart led me back to working with young children as I registered for classes my sophomore year were prerequisites for a career in education. I guess one can say that being a teacher has just been a part of who I am. Working with young children and providing opportunities for them to learn has always been something that I’ve found joy in.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
It is very hard to pinpoint just one. I recall a specific story of working with a kindergartner named Sergio. Sergio, who attended a high-needs building, was very young for his class and was having a difficult time learning most kindergarten concepts. During third quarter, Sergio still didn’t understand the concept of the number eight. He worked very hard in math, frequently referring to the number path on the wall to be reminded of what the numeral looked like. After several months of working with him, one day he came to me with a whiteboard in hand and declared, “Mrs. Katt, 18 is a 10 and an eight. It looks like this!”, wrote the equation 18= 10 + 8 and drew a pictorial representation of the number. His smile lit the room as he was so proud of his learning. It is the little moments such as these that make teaching rewarding for me.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
I believe the Noyce MTF program allows me to gain a deeper understanding of mathematics content and pedagogy which will aid in furthering my pursuit of assisting teachers to become more effective instructors of mathematics. In doing so, the students they work with will develop a greater understanding of mathematics. The program allows me to network with other colleagues within the field and provides opportunities for collaboration that stretch beyond my regular professional work.