Marie Henry is an exceptional high school Math teacher. She designed a math instructional program for Geometry for new teachers. She has been teaching math at Henry Lackey High School since 1982. As Department Chair, she is a “web of resources” for her department. At one point she held two positions simultaneously: taught a math class at Lackey and was the staff development math resource teacher for five high schools and also wrote curriculum. Her streamlined approach will enable new teachers to understand how and what to teach in geometry. Ms. Henry is passionate about math education.
How has the way you teach changed over the course of your career? What lessons have you learned?
Over the course of my career as a teacher my style of teaching has changed with the advances in technology via the Internet, PowerPoint, advanced calculators, videotaping and videoconferencing. By videotaping my geometry lessons, I am able to teach the classes for teachers when they were absent, thus allowing ten classes to remain up to par and on schedule with the rest of the school. With only a limited time to teach a great deal of material, technology allowed us to fill in the gaps that in the past may have caused students to fall behind.
After applying the power of web-based standardized lessons, and videotaped lessons, I have learned that teachers are more receptive, excited, and challenged by lessons that are creative, innovative, and skillfully delivered.
What advice would you give to a teacher who's starting their first year and feels overwhelmed?
The advice that I would share with a first year teacher is to be a good role model. I feel that students find success if they are properly led to reach their potential by a role model who continually presents their own high standards of moral character, wisdom, dedication and experience. A new teacher can feel that he or she is a positive role model when every student participates in some way every period of the day, even if it means asking a question with an obvious answer. Consistent attention, praise and challenges should be provided no matter how small the student’s success. Finally, new teachers should expect only the student’s best effort while maintaining one’s own impeccable moral and intellectual standards of dedication.
What do you think the biggest challenge that teachers face today is, and why? How do you meet it?
The biggest challenge that teachers are facing today is to correct the trend of apathy in the classroom that leads to lower standards and test scores. As a mathematics teacher for nearly thirty years and department chairperson for eleven, I addressed this challenge to improve the teaching profession through example. I hope that my dedication and enthusiasm for reaching every student is being recognized. I teach until every student learns.
In order to meet the challenge of apathy in the classroom and low-test scores, I have created a comprehensive “plan” for teaching geometry. This plan has created an excitement for teaching, learning, and applying the concepts of mathematics. It offers a reprieve to teachers from the routine chores of making transparencies and duplicating handouts, and eases tutoring and teaching preparation time.
What role does technology play in your teaching? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Technology plays a vital role for a 21st century mathematics teacher through tools such as advanced calculators, resources via the Internet, videotaping and conferencing, and PowerPoint presentations. These technological tools assist the students in learning three-dimensional concepts, realistic problem solving and other mathematical applications at a quicker rate. Videotaping prevents students from falling behind when a teacher is absent for a prolonged period of time. The audiovisual stimulations of technology gain the attention of the students and make the topics more relevant to their daily lives. However, the only observable weakness is that this technology is limited to the provisions in the school. Not all students can afford his or her own computer or advanced calculator for further instruction in the home.