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Tiffany Taylor, high school teacher, Norcross, Georgia

 

Tiffany Taylor
High school teacher
Norcross, Georgia
 
April 2002

Tiffany Taylor is a second-year mathematics teacher at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County, near Atlanta. Meadowcreek has approximately 2200 students in grades 9–12. The school's population is diverse, and more than 60 nationalities are represented. Many students are learning English as a second language. Taylor enjoys working at a school where the teaching staff is diverse, as well. This year, Taylor is teaching five geometry classes and is enjoying teaching immensely. This year, she has her own classroom, which she has nicely decorated with student work. "I wanted people to know when they enter my room that they are in a math class and are here to learn math. The kids really love to see their work displayed."

Taylor has always liked mathematics and has generally been quite good at doing it. Her joy in teaching comes from seeing "that light bulb go off in the students' heads" while they demonstrate an understanding of mathematics. She also likes having "first-year teachers come to me with questions. It makes me feel so good that they rely on me as a resource of ideas and that they trust me that I'll give them good advice." Her own resources consist of different books that she has purchased, her explorations with The Geometer's Sketchpad, and her students' innovative approaches when solving problems.

Taylor feels good about what her students are learning and believes that parents support her approach to teaching mathematics, which she tries to make intuitive and student-centered. She likes to try new things and advises other teachers to do the same. Nevertheless, her views of teaching mathematics have changed since her days as a student teacher. During her student teaching, she believes that she may have erred on the side of using too many activities in an effort to make mathematics fun, as well as for the sake of doing something different. She now introduces new ideas into her teaching only when she has a reasonable comfort level with using the ideas and when she is confident that the activities contribute to her overall objectives for the students.

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