We are proud to introduce our twenty-fourth Sunday Spotlight, featuring Mary Ann Gore who is a Math Teacher in Osceola, Arkansas. Teaching 8th grade middle school math is Mary’s calling. Mary is motivated by her students- knowing that she influences the person they will become encourages her to be the best educator she can be for them. She enjoys snacking on peanut butter crackers when working on digital assessments and in her free time she enjoys reading, watching football, and singing karaoke. We enjoyed getting to know Mary!
Get to know Mary Ann Gore
What do you love about working in education? What motivates you?
People often cringe when I tell them I teach 8th grade math. They do not understand how I can love “that age”. I laugh and tell them it is the best age to teach. Teaching my students mathematics is not all I do.
What motivates me the most is my students themselves. It is such a “magical” year to watch students grow both academically and in maturity. They are becoming their own person with their own thoughts. Knowing that I, as their teacher, play some part in the person they will become motivates me to be the best educator of students that I can be.
Why did you become a teacher?
Honestly, if you had asked me in high school what I was going to do with my life, my response would have been “anything but teach!”
I began my career in education as a substitute teacher. Both of my parents were educators, so this was what I knew and I was able to do this while I was taking college courses. As my life unfolded, I actually taught several high school courses for a semester at a time as a long term sub. I was approached by an district administrator concerning a mid-level mathematics aide position. Although, I had always refused to sub below high school and Math, despite being my mother’s subject, being my least favorite…I took the position.
Within the first few years I discovered that THIS was what I wanted to do. It took me some time, but I have not wavered in my faith that I found my calling in middle level mathematics since the day I discovered it.
What is your “Edulastic story”?
I was introduced to Edulastic while I was attending a Teacher Leader Institute. One of my group members was from a district that used Edulastic. As she was explaining it to our table, I was so excited because it seemed to be just what I needed in my classroom! Finally finding an assessment tool that would allow me to teach my students by standards and offer them the practice with computer assessments needed was a gift that I was not going to dismiss. I took this back to my district and we now use for progress monitoring and student assessments.
Describe your Edulastic “aha” moment.
Finding an assessment tool for Math has always been difficult task within my classroom and my district. Language Arts has multiple assessment tools, but math never seemed to be as lucky. Realizing I was looking at a tool that offered everything I was looking to find was like being given the best Christmas gift ever!! I think I actually jumped up and down and did a little dance!
What are your teaching/learning goals this year?
My goal for this year is to become better at student assessment and questioning techniques.
Sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences!
My personal belief is that I must teach the whole child. While my emphasis is teaching mathematics, I must also ensure my students grow in positive ways with their academics in general. My students become my babies and they know…once mine, always mine, no matter how old they get, they can always come back to me if help is needed.
Favorite motivational idea:
“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
– Bear Bryant
Tips for new Edulastic users:
When creating quizzes, it is important to take the assesssment yourself before giving it to students. Also, take it using the same format your students will be using. This assured that you discover any oddities in questions that require students to manipulate objects within the quiz. I have found this lets me to better assist my students when they have difficulty while maintaining the integrity of their own work, not mine through aide.
Favorite Edulastic question type?
It is easier for me to say the only question type I avoid is multiple choice!
Favorite snack while using Edulastic
Peanut butter crackers
Spring or Fall?
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy
Best tactic for getting the class quiet?
Three claps or lights off are the main ones I’ve used in class.
Must- have classroom Decor:
Whacky colored bulletin board, quotes by athletic coaches, literary authors, and historical figures
Favorite time of the school year and why:
The period of time between Christmas break and spring break. This is often the time when students are beginning to see the importance of their own education and truly begin to transition to young adults preparing themselves for high school.
Kindest compliment you have received from a student or teacher?
Having a student thank me for being their teacher after a very trying year with said student. This young man made tremendous gains and having him give me the praise for being a major part of that was truly heart warming.
Funniest student moment?
I was modeling a problem in the smart board and turned around to find a young man upside down in his chair, still taking notes…upside down! I stopped and just looked for a minute before I could even chuckle and move on with the lesson.
Greatest accomplishment in the classroom this past year:
Having my students take control of their learning as we progress through units.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Reading a good book, watching a football game, or singing karaoke!