Math can be fun: Ellis teacher big on interactive activities

Published 9:18 am Friday, March 29, 2024

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Math can be fun.

At least that’s what Ellis teacher Caroline Tucker thinks. And it’s working.

“I do have high expectations for my students, and they know it, but we do like to have a lot of fun,” she said. “We try to do a lot of interactive activities. I try to turn math into a game.”

After all, math is an important part of sports. Think batting averages, basketball shooting percentages. “Things they can relate to,” she said.

For instance, she has a miniature basketball goal she sometimes sets up in the classroom. If a students wants to show their classmates how good of a shot they are, they first have to solve a math problem. I try to do anything I can to make it as much fun as possible.”

And math is important in real life. Caroline has compared positive and negative numbers like a bank account.

“They learn to enjoy it more if they know why we’re studying it.”

She backs up her love of sports by attending every Ellis sporting event she can, putting her at school for longer hours.

“I look forward to coming to work, and watching these kids play sports. My husband would say I spend too much time here, but I feel excited to come to work. I like to be with the kids, so I try not to miss too many games.”

A Davie High graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in K-6 education from Appalachian State University, Caroline always knew that she wanted to make it back to Davie County to teach – and she wants to make her students’ experiences as positive or better than her own.

“I’ve known since kindergarten that teaching is what I wanted to do,” Caroline said. “I don’t remember having a negative experience at school. I had great teachers growing up, and I always wanted to please my teachers. My students know that I care about them.”

“Middle school is a hard time for kids. I know it wasn’t always kind to me,” she said. “I enjoy it. They’re a fun group of kids. They’re more independent, but I can have conversations with them, and they’ll ask me to come to one of their sporting events.”

Yes, math can be hard. Sometimes, Mrs. Tucker also makes an error. “I make mistakes, too, but I acknowledge them and we turn it into a teaching moment.”

Caroline Tucker is happy at her job, and encourages students to consider teaching as a career.

“Don’t listen to all of the negative talk,” she said. “We always need teachers who are passionate and concerned. It’s very rewarding. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

She says she’s also fortunate to work for Davie County Schools, more specifically, at Ellis Middle School.

“The administration is great, some of the best I’ve worked for. I feel like we’re treated as professionals. We get to teach and do what’s best for our class. They hold us accountable, but they understand what we’re going through. It’s really good here.”