Patti Evans – Math
2012-2013 Teacher of the Year
Patti Evans, a math teacher at the Union 8th Grade center, was named the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013 by her peers.
"I’m a teacher because I believe in the human factor,” Evans said. “In the teaching profession you have the opportunity to develop the most valuable resource to society, the human mind. I’m often baffled by the profound impact of how one individual has the ability to impart knowledge to another individual and through the application of that knowledge watch the exponential growth within the individual. My greatest reward is seeing the best in my students and facilitating their strengths as they make academic progress using both responsibility and resiliency.
“Personally, I want each one of my students to understand that their unique abilities, talents and strengths play a significant role in shaping this world; they count and they matter. I view myself as a small intricate part of a human network that contributes to the on-going development of my students’ lives. As each student continues on their educational journey, I want to them to leave me knowing that their opportunities are not limited; but can only be obtained through hard work, perseverance, commitment, and dedication. I hope that the maintenance of the application of knowledge will leave the blueprint for success forever etched in each of their minds.”
Evans is often concerned about students retaining concepts they have learned -- and if that knowledge is lost; then how can the knowledge be reconstructed?
“Pre-algebra is the first mathematical course in which students are introduced to abstract math concepts,” Evans said. “Some students are overwhelmed with the notion of ‘letters and numbers’ and how can do they work together in numerical equations. At this level, the students’ scope of reasoning is expanded to understand complex concepts. Students are required to develop their math reasoning skills in conjunction with the continuous practice of their math computation skills. It’s imperative that students with special needs feel a sense of comfort and accomplishment while learning. In order to effectively execute lessons, I’m always searching for strategies that will enhance learning. During a math collaboration meeting, the strategy of W.B.I.S.C. was shared. W.B.I.S.C. (Write the equation, Brick wall, Inverse operation on both sides, Solve the equation, and Check the answer) is a mnemonic device that list the steps for solving equations. It was simple to use and enjoyable to recite. After introducing WBISC with other reviewed concepts, the students were empowered and would readily use the strategy to successfully solve equation problems. The continuous use of this strategy will be accessible during testing and stored in their long-term memories.”
Evan believes the most important issue facing students today is time management of technological usage.
“Most students are inundated with social media,” Evans said. “Whether it is texting friends, tweeting, gaming, or on Facebook, students don’t appear to be concerned with prioritizing their time. An infusion of the simultaneous use of social communication plays a significant role in how students address their personal needs and responsibilities. It is difficult for students to apply the use of technology beyond the scope of recreational activities. It appears that students view academics and technology as isolated entities. For instance, if given a report to research students will use the technology to access the required information to complete the report. They hardly ever think beyond the scope of the isolated task and realize that they could also use technology to access information to answer homework questions. Placing socialization before academics isn’t something new for students, however the correlation between how much time is spent doing so is an issue.
“More than often, parents consider technology as part of this generations’ future; therefore the more time they spend on social media the more prepared they will be to function in society. As educators, we are prepared to make adjustments to meet the needs of our students. We make it a point to incorporate technology within our curriculum to maintain student interest. Although, most students are technologically savvy, they still need to understand how to link both recreational and academic use of social media in order to bring a balance to lives.
Evans started teaching at Union in the 2009-2010 school year. “Prior to being hired at Union, I was at a professional crossroad. I’d work in varied settings and developed an attitude of intolerance toward the policies and procedures pertaining to the expectations for special needs students. The expectations were always less than what I felt my students could accomplish. During this time, I suppressed the passion and drive that I once possessed as a novice teacher. After being hired at Union, and having the necessary academic, technological tools and students with a strong desire to learn helped to forge a marriage of success. I was afforded a second opportunity to reestablish the initial personal oath to myself, which was to whole-heartedly commit to teaching each student daily at one hundred percent. With great enthusiasm, I vocalized my new existence in ‘teacher heaven.’ In challenging moments I reflect upon the letters of appreciation from former students, which inspires me to continue to motivate my current students.”
Evans’ immediate short-term professional goals is to continue to research information on Common Core standards and how to effectively prepare her special needs students to encounter the rigor of the standards. “I would like to equip myself with a repertoire of shared strategies, methods, and techniques that will simplify the complexities of Common Core language. I don’t want my students to be bog down by the presentation of the information, but be able to understand how to handle the varied levels of mathematical content given in each lesson. In addition, I would like to enhance my commitment to the field of education through continuous learning. I want to always be influenced by the best practices available to students. I look forward to communicating knowledge, modeling successful strategies and sharing accommodations that help students succeed.”
Masters of Education: Urban Education, Langston University
Bachelor of Science: Special Education, Oral Roberts University
Oklahoma Teaching Certification: Learning Disabilities, Mild/Moderate