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Ann Carlyle, elementary teacher, Santa Barbara, California

April 2002

Ann Carlyle
Elementary teacher
Santa Barbara, California

Ann Carlyle has been teaching elementary students for 37 years, including teaching them mathematics. She currently teaches at the kindergarten level at a Title 1 school. Approximately 40 percent of the students are second-language learners, primarily of Hispanic background. The school is in a suburban area that has a considerable mix of economic levels. This diversity alerts Carlyle to the various needs of her students, as they bring different backgrounds to her classroom. In 1993, Carlyle received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Since then, she has won several other awards, which help validate what she believes is important in working with young children. Carlyle also teaches mathematics methods courses at the university level. She tries to model her teaching style with the preservice teachers as she tries to reflect the way that she would like mathematics taught to elementary students.

Carlyle emphasizes the importance of partnerships for teachers. Such partnerships should encourage teachers to share ideas and learn from each other. Teaching can be a very lonely profession, a circumstance that encourages Ann to become involved with other teachers and teacher educators as much as possible. She recognizes that mathematics is not the favorite subject of many teachers at the elementary level. Therefore, ways must be found to help elementary teachers not only like the subject but to feel empowered by it, rather than just teaching it page by page. Partnerships can provide the kind of support that teachers need to reform their classroom teaching.

Carlyle particularly likes working with the parents of her students. She finds that she is often the first person with whom the parents come into contact who can talk about their children's future. She not only discusses the children's mathematics and reading skills but also some of the basic skills of life. She likes to encourage parents to become involved in their children's mathematical education even though mathematics may have been difficult for them to learn. Carlyle is frustrated that so many of her students move in and out of the school district, thereby impeding her ability to establish rapport with the families and to help make the children comfortable with classroom routines and her approach to mathematics teaching.


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