Friday, April 21, 2017

Teaching Motivation

     Thinking back to the days of elementary, middle and high school, I remember many of my teachers. All of them I would be able to recognize, some I would be able to recall their names, and still others I remember the class they taught and some important things I learned. The last teachers I mentioned have clear memories that define them as my favorite teachers, but hold the phone, why do I remember these teachers? What features or experiences did I have with them to hold this memory? After some thought, I discovered that every teacher I remember either guided me to a new way of thinking or motivated me through the way they taught.
      One of the most noteworthy teachers I had was in elementary school. She was my first-grade teacher that also taught second grade, and she was the teacher that recognized my skills in math. I still remember the day that she asked me to join the second-grade lesson and all the other second graders were so confused as to why I was there since I was a first grader. From that point on, I was in accelerated math classes throughout my middle school and high school careers. This teacher helped lead me to pursue a math major with plans to become a math teacher. I can firmly say that where I am now is directly related to that specific event and teacher. I had many other experiences with her throughout my first and second-grade years, but that day sticks will stick with me forever.
      Another teacher that had an impact on me was a high school teacher. She taught geometry and that class was particularly hard for me. I was well-versed in algebra  and found geometry to be more difficult for me. This teacher helped bring out my strengths in the class but what I remember most about her was that she showed me a new way of looking at people. I grew up in a very conservative family and let’s just say we have some strong views. Later in the year, I found out that my teacher’s sexual orientation was different than I expected, and this bothered me for a while. Throughout the year, she helped me appreciate her for being a great teacher and not focusing on our differences. From that point on I have been able to see people differently and I would say that she has been one of my favorite teachers. She also pushed me to take AP Calculus in high school and that was another big push to where I am now, in college.
     Throughout these experiences, I have learned some specific things. First, each of these teachers worked on understanding their students and using that they were able to create lifelong memories for me. I am so thankful for these teachers that God put in my life. Secondly, I found it interesting that these teachers and experiences I remember most were somehow tied in with mathematics. From that observation alone, I see why I pursued this field. The motivation I got from my teachers to pursue my strength in math have led me here, to SDSU: a Jackrabbit pursuing a Mathematics degree with Teaching Specialization.
      Thinking about these stories, I hope that you can go back and think of experiences that have motivated you as a person and as an educator. For me, I can only hope to model what these teachers did for me when I have my own classroom. With all the hardships of teaching, these memories allow me to push forward and see the greatness that can come from being a teacher. Without these motivational stories, I don’t know where I would be. In conclusion, I would like to give a shout out to all my past and future teachers! Thank you.

Taylor Davis