Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mathematics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Math, grades 7-10
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
Washington State University
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Colville High School, Colville School District
I am from a smaller Eastern Washington town, Colville, about an hour north of Spokane Wa. In high school I loved math and science and thought that perhaps I’d want to teach them, but it wasn’t until I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer that I decided to pursue teaching as a career.
I am currently a student at Washington State University, studying mathematics with a minor in engineering.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach because I love math and I love kids. It’s the most wonderful, natural thing in the world to me standing in front of a classroom of learners. Even though I’m so new at this that I rarely do much right in the way of teaching, when I am doing it I know without a doubt it’s what I was made to do.
I want to teach also because I want to make a difference in the way students see mathematics. Math is an exciting, dynamic…and dreaded content area among students (and most of the American population, it seems!). Even if I can’t help my students enjoy math like I do, I want to teach them that they can do it successfully.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
I had a practicum this summer where I got to do teach some trigonometry. I taught two periods in a row the same material, but the classes were entirely different. The first period class were the kids who were ahead in their math; however, when I taught them they couldn’t seem to understand what I was trying to teach them.
After some alterations of my lesson, I taught second period – the kids whose math abilities were supposed to be poorer than those of the class before them. When I taught, however, these kids got it! I was able to explain to them in a way that they understood.
I think that this teaching experience was my most memorable of that practicum because I realized just how much I don’t know – even after spending years and thousands of dollars at college. I learned you have to know your students and how they learn in order to teach them well, and when the teaching doesn’t go well you have to have the humility to admit it! As a teacher I must also have genuinely high expectations for all students. I was most grateful to learn these lessons.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program was actually the deciding factor that caused me to change my major from civil engineering to mathematics education. The engineering contact for the Noyce Program here at WSU is insightful and helpful beyond words – he helped me realize that I’d be a much happier student as a math major, and that I did indeed want to teach kids in high need districts. Without Noyce, I’d still be a struggling engineer, unhappy with her career plans and in loads of debt! Thank you for giving me this opportunity – words can’t describe what it’s meant to me!