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Inspire Math Students

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Natalie McCutchen is a 2013-14 Hope Street Group Fellow and teaches 7th grade Math at Franklin Simpson Middle School in the Simpson, Kentucky School District.

"Math is hard!" "I've never been good at math!" "I hate math!" It is my goal, as a math teacher, to eliminate these phrases from the thoughts and minds of my students. Instead, I would love to hear my students say, "Math is challenging!" "I can do math!" "Math is fun!"

In order to make this a reality for my students, I must create unique, personalized learning experiences for each student. Having the appropriate standards in place and the necessary materials and resources to extend the learning of my students can facilitate their experiences in math. Funding is a vital element to implementing and sustaining high-quality learning for my students and the type of learning that:

  • best meets the needs of each student;
  • will allow my students to explore content in new and meaningful ways, and for my students to be fully engaged and able to delve deeper into the content in order to create deeper and sustaining connections;
  • will turn the most reluctant math student into a motivated student;
  • can turn a bored student into an engaged student;
  • can turn a student who did just enough to get by into a student who is willing to go the extra mile just for the sake of learning;
  • can only be accomplished by adequate funding, higher standards, sufficient materials, reliable resources, and a willingness for growth.

Shortly after the start of the school year, one of my former students presented me with a letter. She told me she had to write a letter to someone who inspired her and the first person she thought of was me. I was honored, shocked, and grateful. I went back into my classroom, slowly opened her letter, and began to read. She wrote how she had always been afraid to speak up for fear of being laughed at, how she never believed in herself, and had never really liked math. She discussed how all that changed because I showed her that it was okay to speak up and that she had something valuable to offer. She spoke of how she is more confident and that she believes in herself and is willing to try new things. She told me thank you!

As the tears rolled down my face, I was validated for all my hard work. I realized that my goal is for each of my students to feel this way. It is my goal that all my students experience success and discover their purpose in life. My goal is for each of my students to discover their own personal greatness!

Our students need adequate funding. Please help all students achieve their own personal greatness.

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