Math Substitute: Interview With Miss. Smith


Justin Byers, Author

Today, I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with our new Sub in the math department, Miss Smith. Here are a few questions so you guys can get to know her better. See her responses below.

1. Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

I attended Slippery Rock University. My bachelor’s degree is in mathematics, and I have minors in actuarial science and secondary mathematics education. I also recently completed my master’s degree in Secondary Education – Mathematics.

2. What inspired you to become a substitute teacher for Geometry?

I came to New Castle to be a substitute for geometry, business math, and trig/algebra 3 because I enjoyed my time here when I was a field student in the Fall. I also got the opportunity to teach geometry as a student teacher prior to being a substitute which is where I discovered that I enjoy teaching Geometry.

3. What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that all students can learn math and that teaching should be student-centered. In my future classroom, I plan to include many activities in the lessons to get students engaged and excited about learning math.

4. What are your expectations of your students in terms of behavior and academic performance?

In terms of behavior, I expect that my students are kind and respectful to others in the classroom. Academically, I expect all my students to come to class ready to learn and to try their best inside and outside of the classroom.

5. How do you plan to engage and motivate students in the subject of geometry?

My plan to engage students in geometry is to include different discovery activities, games, and hands-on activities throughout the lessons. I hope while teaching geometry (as with all my math classes), I can motivate students by showing them the value of mathematics and that the skills you learn in mathematics are useful even if they don’t particularly enjoy mathematics.

6. How do you plan to accommodate students with different learning styles and abilities?

Many students have different learning styles. My plan to accommodate the different learning styles is to provide different methods of instruction that cater to each learning style.

7. What strategies do you plan to use to help struggling students?

It is not uncommon to struggle with mathematics. I plan to help students by providing extra practice and offering tutoring if able.

8. What resources do you plan to use to supplement the Geometry curriculum?

I plan to use the book as a form of practice for the students. I also create my own materials which I most often use.

9. What role do you think technology should play in teaching Geometry?

Mathematics is a topic where technology can be very useful. Technology can help students visualize the content which is often necessary for learning. I plan to create different exploration activities and projects using technology, especially in geometry. In addition to using technology in that aspect, I plan to use technology to create games and surveys to review material.

10. What are some of the biggest challenges you think you’ll face as a substitute teacher for Geometry?

My biggest challenge as a substitute for geometry is learning each student’s learning style and math background in a short period of time.

11. How do you plan to maintain a positive classroom environment?

My main goal is to create a positive relationship between the students and mathematics. Helping students switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is one of the ways I plan to maintain a positive classroom environment. On top of this, I hope to create a calm, welcoming space that uplifts student morale inside the classroom.

12. How do you plan to incorporate real-life applications of geometry into your lessons?

Real-life applications are necessary to keep students engaged and to help convey the importance of mathematics. I plan to use real-life applications in all my math classes as students become more comfortable with the material.

13. What do you think are the most important skills and concepts for students to master in geometry?

While many students may not actively use the definitions, theorems, or even the math learned in geometry after school, all students are working on their problem-solving skills in geometry. Geometry requires critical thinking and problem solving which is one of the most important skills that a student can take from geometry. In terms of mathematical skills, I think the most important topic is the introduction of trigonometric functions, which prepares students for higher-level math courses like pre-calculus and calculus. Additionally, a lot of geometry is taking theorems, definitions, and properties and applying them to other scenarios. This is another skill that will prove to be useful in future math classes and outside the classroom. Mastering these skills builds better students and helps prepare students for the next math and for life.

14. What are some of your favorite geometry activities or lessons to teach?

I really enjoy teaching the trigonometric functions in geometry because it opens a door to a bigger world of mathematics. The trigonometry section has an aspect to it where it feels like solving a puzzle and many students tend to like this section once they get the hang of it. This is also a section where student attitudes toward math start to shift in a more positive direction. It is like the students have a moment of realization where they feel like they can do math and they may even find it fun.

15. What do you hope your students will take away from your time as their substitute geometry teacher?

I hope my students walk away from my short time here with a more positive outlook on mathematics and their capabilities. Outside of geometry though, I hope my students walk away with a sense of accomplishment for putting in the effort and that they know they can do hard things if they put their mind to it.

We wish Miss. Smith the best final weeks of school and wish her luck in her future career as an educator.