My Teaching Philosophy

I am convinced that many of the students that struggle in a math course have had a negative experience in the past and think they “can’t do math.” Overcoming this self-fulfilling mindset is half their battle. Giving students the chance to feel success early on so they can see that they really CAN do math is important. It is rewarding to me to help them see that they can succeed. I love teaching and love math and try to share this enthusiasm with students. I strive to facilitate students’ learning of math by providing them with a variety of tools to help them learn and asking them questions that will guide them to making connections among concepts and ideas.


I try to create a relaxed, positive learning environment and have been known to inject some fun and humor along the way. I think it is imperative that a teacher be approachable and students are comfortable asking questions and interacting without the threat of embarrassment or feeling put down. I teach in an interactive style getting feedback from students, listening to what they understand, what they already know, and helping them make connections to learn what they need to know. I often use a questioning technique to help students discover the concepts and make visual connections.

I use technology such as PowerPoint, Winplot, Java applets, Wolfram Demonstrations, Desmos and a graphing calculator where appropriate because seeing things is crucial to making connections. Geometric connections as well as tying the material to relevant examples whenever possible are also paramount. I encourage students to think and analyze rather than memorize steps. My goal is to instill good problem solving and critical-thinking skills that will prepare students for whatever challenges lie ahead. The high-level thinking skills, work ethic, and perseverance that are involved in learning mathematics prepare students well for all future academic and career related endeavors. I believe in setting high expectations and doing everything I can to help students learn and understand. I tell students they will receive the grade that they earn, but I will support them in any way I can during the semester to help them earn the grade they desire.


Though student satisfaction is important, teaching – especially in mathematics – should not become a popularity contest. A teacher must have integrity and should resist the pressure of lowering academic standards in education to be popular.

 

Bottom line, students who walk into my classroom will be given an opportunity to be intellectually challenged, cared for and respected as individuals, and continually supported in their efforts to learn the material. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to demonstrate a mastery of the material. My role is to instruct, motivate, coach, mentor and cheerlead.