Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Math Coach, grades 1-8
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
District Office, Lincoln Public Schools
I am from Lincoln, NE. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I’ve been teaching in the Lincoln Public School (LPS) District since 1998 and now am a math coach for the District Office.
Why do you want to teach:
Teaching and learning have been passions of mine from the time I was a young child. I have always loved being a student and wanted to share the excitement of understanding new ideas with the people around me. I took advantage of opportunities to explore the teaching experience while still in high school through pre-practicum work at Elliott Elementary School and Lincoln High School. As an undergraduate, I frequently had occasion to provide informal tutoring to my peers in mathematics courses. I found that I was able to support colleagues in the same way throughout my early years as a teacher. I was fortunate to have opportunities to work with teachers who were gifted in a variety of ways and learned early on that collaboration with other teachers was powerful on the job training.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
As a math coach, I do not teach any one group of students on a consistent basis. My work is focused on assisting math teachers with planning effective lessons, implementing high-yield instructional strategies, and building content knowledge. Consequently, it is not possible to offer objective data as evidence of my success in this area. As a part of the coaching process, I sometimes teach demonstration lessons for teachers in their classrooms or work with them to co-teach a lesson we’ve planned together. On a purely subjective level, I can tell you that in a vast majority of those cases, students react very positively to the lessons. I frequently have students ask me, when they see me in their classroom, if I am “going to be teaching again today?” and comment that they hope that’s the case as the lessons are “fun” and “make sense” to them. That is not to say that every lesson I teach is perfect by any means, but based upon feedback like this from students (and teachers) I am confident that students are engaged. I know that the lessons I plan or co-plan with teachers are intentionally rigorous and conceptual in nature, so engagement in the material is productive.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
I believe that the Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellowships Program will enhance my ability to effectively support LPS math teachers in pursuit of these professional goals. As I work in the role of math coach, I frequently find that I struggle with the delicate balance between being a supportive cheerleader and challenging current thinking as I advocate for higher expectations and better instructional practices. I hope that if I participate in the Master Teaching Fellowship Program, I will have the opportunity to explore case studies and research focused on how best to do this work. I also hope to continue to grow the network of professionals I can turn to for my own professional growth in the field. I would like to apply the credit from the Noyce fellowship coursework toward a doctorate if at all possible.